25 Things

There’s been a random meme going around called “25 Things,” where folks list 25 random things about themselves. I first saw it on Facebook but now it’s cropping up everywhere. So here it is, for your viewing (dis)pleasure:

  1. I was introduced to coffee when I was 7 years old. By my parents. (I’ve been drinking it ever since. I take it with half-and-half and no sugar.)
  2. As much as I enjoy my classes, I wish I could have my Master’s degree already so I can get my career off the ground. It’s paralyzing knowing that I can’t get hired anywhere until I finish this program.
  3. I’m a migraine sufferer. (It runs in the family.) My migraines come with visual auras. Some research suggests that migraines + auras = increased chance of strokes.
  4. Unfortunately, strokes also run in my family. Needless to say, I’m attempting to lead my life in a relatively stress-free fashion.  However, my current lifestyle is contradictory this philosophy, as I am currently trying to hold down a part-time job and attend Master’s-level courses full-time.
  5. I’ve recently learned that there are reproductive problems in my family, too — myself included. (I was diagnosed with Kallmann syndrome when I was 18.) I may be infertile… and I think I’m OK with that. (But, then again, I am only 22.) Continue reading “25 Things”

Kind woman, I give you my all.

A couple of weeks ago, I helped a student research some obscure intelligence test for a paper she was writing for her Master’s-level psychology course. We were only able to find a handful of articles, all authored by the same group of individuals. Together, we came to the conclusion that these people must’ve been the ones who created the analysis tool as they were the only ones being cited.

Yesterday, she came into the library again for more assistance. This time, it was about a different topic. However, before she explained her new problem to me, she asked, “Do you remember you helped me last time?” Now, I’m usually very bad with faces. I help dozens of students every day and I can’t keep track of every one of them. However, I remembered her and I was even able to vaguely recall the topic she had been researching. (I must have spent about 30-45 minutes with her that day. That is significantly more time than I get to spend with most students.) So once I responded in the affirmative, she said, “I got an A on that paper. My professor was very impressed because she wasn’t even aware that the tool had existed. It’s so new that she hadn’t even heard of it yet.”

I’ve had students come up to me days or weeks later and thank me. However, I’ve always been at a loss as to who they are or how I’d helped them. In some cases, I’d forget by the next day. (I don’t know whether this is a testament to the volume of questions I field everyday or to my poor memory.) In this case, the student took the time out to explain to me who she was and exactly how my assistance had helped her.

To my knowledge, this is the first time that my services had gotten someone an A.  Needless to say, I was beaming.

There’s beauty in breakdown.

Due to technical difficulties, I had to start anew with WordPress. All of my previous posts and pages are now gone. However, I’ve learned to take a Buddhist approach to life.

According to the teachings of Buddhism, pain and suffering have roots in our desires for material possessions, power, and so on. Therefore, to reduce the amount of pain I experience, I no longer mourn the losses of my material possessions should I lose them accidentally.

For example, I recently wiped out my entire OS and, instead of freaking out and crying over the loss of information, I chose to let go. When I upgraded my iPhone‘s OS, I lost all of my data and I didn’t even flinch. So losing a couple years of thoughts and musings isn’t as big a deal as it would have been just a few years prior.

…This is why I now keep all of my important files on my 2GB flashdrive. At least it doesn’t have an OS that I can wipe out.

I don’t know exactly when my approach to life changed in this way. I remember being a very panic-ridden individual, being incredibly prone to anxiety attacks caused by stress. (I’m also a migraine sufferer, with headaches usually arising from stress. Needless to say, stress was a stressor in and of itself.) Sometime in high school, I think, is when I learned that when things are out of my control, I can’t do anything about it. If a teacher sprung a pop quiz on us and I wasn’t prepared, I no longer panicked. What would be the point? I would just be raising my blood pressure and making myself crazy. Meanwhile, the teacher would still hand out the quiz and I’d fail it anyway.

This isn’t to say that I’m stress-free these days. As a graduate student, I can’t escape stress. I have homework assignments, I have projects, I have papers. And then I have to worry about being able to pay for all of this stress! I’m slowly crawling into a $30,000 debt, hoping I’ll be able to dig my way out while keeping my dignity. (But with this economy, who can be sure?)

In the meantime, I’m taking deep breaths and learning to let go.