Posted tagged ‘school’

What I Did When I Got Tossed Out Into the Real World

November 8, 2010

A couple of nights ago, I was at the library, talking to a friend I ran into there. I was smiling calmly, holding my eternal blue mug, filled with herbal tea. In a zen tone, borrowed from a number of my yoga teachers and very unfitting of me, I gently said: “I feel so less stressed now that I don’t have the internet.”

Ok, I didn’t feel like that the first night. I barely slept. What little sleep I had was interrupted by constant gasping for air. Whether or not it was anxiety or just this annoying cough that’s been plaguing me for the past week coming on, I don’t know. I’ve had trouble breathing on and off my entire life. After being screened for every breathing disorder under the sun, I was eventually referred to a support group for people with mood (and anxiety) disorders. (I’ll say, though, that I met many of my dearest friends via mood group so I’m actually grateful to have been told “it’s all in your head“.)

It’s ok, you can laugh at me. I’m too dependent on one machine. I don’t have a smartphone, or even a semi decent phone. I don’t watch any TV. All my planning, my communication, my entertainment is dependent on a single collection of electric circuits. I had the rug completely pulled out from beneath me.

But it didn’t take me too long to adapt. Here’s what I’ve been doing out here in the tangible world.

1) I started using an agenda! I always use my agendas for, like, the first 2 weeks of a semester. Then I give up on it: I can just rely on classmates and checking my email at the last moment. But then I couldn’t do that anymore. So I went to the lab, pulled up my emails and transcribed everything into my agenda. And OMG! I can’t believe how much easier it is to have all this information neatly sorted in front of me, on paper. As a result, I’ve attended more stuff over the past week than I have in the past 2 months.

2) I watched some TV. Ok, I only know of two channels: TLC and Slice. And those channels play nothing but wedding and baby shows. But! If anyone needs a wedding planned or an emergency delivery, I’m totally your girl. Actually, it did come in handy the other day. I had my class on pregnancy care and the prof asked if any of us knew was eclampsia was. I raised my hand Hermione-Granger-style: I knew exactly what eclampsia was! One of the girls featured on I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant suffered from eclampsia and had a seizure while driving. Who says sensationalist shows aren’t educational?

3) I traded one form of escapism for a slightly more useful one. I did something that completely shocked me. I wrote two exams last week: toxicology and cardiology. Tox is a 1-credit course so there’s no pressure, but cardiology is like getting run over by a train of a giant trucks. Having both of them around the same time was brutal. The exam writing wasn’t shocking, but feeling confident while writing them was very much a new feeling. I never feel confident writing exams. But the thing is this. WoW is my escapism, how I unwind. Without a computer, I didn’t have WoW. I looked around for a different escapism and all I could find was studying. I’m now completely addicted to studying. I bring my notes with me everywhere and I constantly fight the urge to read them. I’m so far ahead in all my classes, you wouldn’t believe it. I expect this to come in handy when Cataclysm drops itself smack in the first week of finals. I’m hoping to have all four of my finals prepared before then.

4) I’ve developed a feeling of deep solidarity with the other inhabitants of the general library’s fourth floor. And no, I don’t mean inhabitants like the issues of the past 50 years of the Sedimentology journal (which are, I’m sure, very friendly). I get my own health science library at the hospital, but its constantly overrun by too-chatty medical and nursing students. The fourth floor of the general library is a world apart from the rest. And I have this feeling of quiet understand with Guy-with-noisy-cold, Girl-who-wears-shorts-in-this-weather, Guy-with-MacBook and Girl-with-scarves. I don’t know any of their names or what their majors are (I’m guessing Math, Kinesiology, English and Liberal Arts respectively because I totally don’t stereotype or anything like that), but after spending night after night in each others vicinity, in that cold, dark wing of the library, we’ve become intimately acquainted. To the point where we smile and say hi to each on campus. I’m positive they call me either “Girl-who-can’t-breathe” or “Girl-who-gets-angry-at-paper“.

5) I finally became acquainted with Freya Stark. I first heard about Freya Stark when I was reading Alice Steinbach’s European traveling records. I just had to find out more about this extraordinary woman who traveled alone throughout the Middle East, at a time where it practically unheard of for a woman to travel alone, especially to such exotic locations. (Although, so far, so she’s met other British women all over Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan so it probably wasn’t as unheard of as we think.) I picked up The Freya Stark Story from the school library (I couldn’t find a link to it on Amazon): her personal account of her early life and first few travels to the Middle East. And wow. Just wow. It’s hard to remember that this was written by a woman who was born in 1893. She’s hard to follow at times: she jumps from one topic to another without transitioning and she often says “we” without letting the reader know who “we” consists of. But otherwise, she’s amazing to read. She uses a lot of imagery (I suppose they don’t call her the poet of travel guide writing for nothing) and she has a strong but subtle sense of humour that I just adore. Sometimes it feels like she’s in my head, writing my thoughts. And her “I’m going to do what I want, and I’m going to do it while looking fabulous” attitude is so perfect. I would have loved to meet her.

6) I hung out with myself. I spend a lot of time alone, but between studying and doing WoW related stuff, I haven’t really spend time with myself since coming home from out West. I did some touristy stuff by walking around St. John’s and taking pictures (which I’ll probably publish somewhere once I get my computer back), then climbed Signal Hill. Can you believe that I’ve lived in St. John’s for 5 years yet have never climbed Signal Hill? I visited the GeoCentre while I was there and was amused by how their geological history exhibit have fantastic “planet”, “local” and “human” history sections while the “future” section of the exhibit was closed due to being under construction. Then I came home and watched the cat sleep on my bed. The hard part is getting my brain to shut up. It thinks of every potentially embarrassing thing I’ve said in my life or social faux pas I’ve ever made and repeats it over and over and over again until all I can think of is “I screwed up my every opportunity at ever getting a job, my profs must all think I’m an inconsiderate, unprofessional idiot, I should stop burdening my classmates by talking to them.” Took me a few hours, but I eventually got it under control and could think more pleasant thoughts. I can see why so many people have trouble spending time with themselves, though. It takes a lot of patience to come to terms with one’s unresolvable distance from perfection.

And that was my little-over-a-week of no computer. It’s not so bad, I’m getting a lot of work done, I’ve been more sleep than I thought my body was capable of and I’m enjoying the break from internet stress. I do, however, miss my guildies so much that it’s kind of embarrassing and I’m very annoyed that they always pick the weeks I’m not there do to All You Can Eat which is STILL the only achievement standing between me and my drake $^&$%$#$@.

I wonder if I could pay a random guild off the realm forums to carry me to it…

Let us figure out why I’m so bad at writing papers

March 19, 2010

Ok, so I spent 3 hours writing a wonderful and intricate blog post about the mechanics of a specific spell (and by 3 hours of writing, I mean 3 hours of sort of writing while flipping back and forth and participating in other discussions) and then I went to save it and WordPress gave me the finger and I lost it all and OMG I don’t want to start all over. I even had MATH in it, just to prove to Codi that I’m not always lazy! (Note, since everyone’s feelings are kind of on-edge these days, I want to specify that I am saying this with much affection and <3)

So after the obligatory crying fit, I decided to write about something lighter for a Friday post. It has little to do with WoW, but perhaps if we all put our heads together, we can figure out why I’m such a bad paper writer. (And the whole reason I have this on my mind is because I have 2 papers due Monday that I’ve barely started)

This is my paper writing process:

1) Read assignment question.

2) Check blog stats.

3) Reread assignment question.

4) Gather dirty clothes and start some laundry.

5) Pull out notebook to work on plan.

6) Look for pencil.

7) Discover a roll of Lifesavers under bed.

8.) Tweet about said Lifesavers roll.

9) Refresh blog stats.

10) Start working on plan.

11) Check blog comments.

12) Write rest of plan.

13) Check Blog Azeroth.

14) Start paper, write 3 words.

15) Go get snack.

16) Tweet about snack.

17) Write 3 more words.

18) Refresh blog stats.

19) Write 3 more words.

20) Remember laundry.

21) Get interrupted by cat demanding food. Feed cat.

22) Write 3 more words.

23) Run “1” heroic (courtesy of @Acaldra)

…. and so on.

Anyone have any insight on why it takes me a week to write a 2 paged paper?

Shared Topic: Leave of WoW Absense

February 4, 2010

Eek! I’m doing a Shared Topic and it’s not Friday night/Saturday! What’s wrong with me? I’m never ahead of schedule like that!

So this week, Nim from Ankh = Life suggested the Shared Topic. He (I think it’s a he!) has recently recovered from a month without WoW (we are glad for his recovery and return) and, in true WoW blogger style, began reflecting on what he did with is time away from WoW, then asked what other WoW players do when they’re away from the game.

I recently wrote about how I deal (dealing badly is still dealing!) without the game, but perhaps I could talk a bit about some of the things I like to do when I’m not playing WoW. BECAUSE I DO LIKE TO DO NON WOW THINGS SOMETIMES OKAY!

1- Getting Involved at School

Yes, even when I’m not playing video games, I’m a nerd. What started off as a ploy to keep busy during my four extra years of school and maybe help with my excessive shyness (HAHAHAHA) backfired. I fell in love with my national student association and found myself dedicating increasing amounts of time to it. While I still get nauseous and shakey at the thought of making phone calls, I discovered that I really enjoy the administrative side of running a local chapter of a national association. Among other things, I’ve had the opportunity to plan a Career Fair, to travel around Canada to meet incredible, inspirational people and to be involved in the writing of an official position statement.

I never thought in a million years that I’d enjoy it this much. I have the lingering feeling that once I graduate, I’ll find myself screwing up election speeches for the grown up version of our national student association.

2- Gastronomy

I’ll admit it, I love delicious food, all sorts of delicious food. I read cookbooks before I go to sleep at night. I spend tons of money on groceries and restaurants. Upon making friends with people from other cultures, the first thing I ask them is about their ethnic food and could they share some recipes, please, please, please. When I travel, I judge cities by their restaurants. I’m not big on loud gatherings with lots of people, but food parties and potlucks are the exception.

Typically, when I tell people about my food obsession, I get the following response: “OMG! How can you love food and stay thin?

It’s actually quite simple. Good food is either:
1) Freaking expensive
2) A lot of effort to make
3) All of the above

Considering that I’m both a poor starving student and really busy all the time, calories are never an issue. I live in an area where uncommon ingredients aren’t easy to find either, which is another limit to my indulgence.

3- Traveling

Typical scene in my life:

Guildie X: Guildie Y is coming to visit me this weekend!
Me: OMG! I’m so jealous! I really want to hang out with you guys. Um…would you mind if I come too?
Guildie X: Sure, if you want.

They never believe that I’ll actually do it and get all shocked when I call them from the airport a few days later. I’m the queen of discount plane tickets and last minute plans. Yes, I have financial constraints like everyone else, but I’m pretty good at working a budget and traveling cheap.

I love youth hostels!

I also have a killer sense of direction in real life (unfortunately, this gift does not extend to video games…um…which side is Festergut’s right again?), a more or less photographic memory when it comes to maps (I find myself giving directions to locals all the time) and knack for getting myself (and others) out of trouble. I’m fearless and I get this crazy rush whenever I’m on a trip, so I have quite the extensive repertoire of freaky travel stories.

4- Reading

When I travel, I always keep a book in my purse. I don’t get the chance to read much in my regular life but, since I can’t stand pesky people cramping my style, when I’m on the go, I spend a lot of time on my own. Airports, public transit, meal times, evenings are made much more enjoyable with a trusty pocketbook on hand.

I’m absolutely crazy about Nick Hornby. I’ve even come to refer to various trips by the name of the Hornby book I was reading at the time. Also, High Fidelity is my breakup book. Whenever I’m bummed about a breakup, I pull out my (very used) copy of High Fidelity, tear through it in a few hours and automatically feel better.

A series by a different author that I enjoy as well is the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey. I have to admit that I wasn’t able to get into her other works (I am dying to get my hands on her Namah series, though!) but her graceful narration in Kushiel is such a treat. Even if the story wasn’t amazing (and it is amazing), the characters not likable (and they are very likable), Kushiel is worth reading for the narration alone.

5- Drinking coffee

Coffee and I have an interesting relationship. For one, I’m most likely allergic to something in most types of coffee. I’ve become good at knowing which coffees will be gentle on my lymph nodes, but I’ve spent many painful days experimenting! I’m also pretty sensitive to caffeine. I get the shakes, the sweats, the palpitations when I drink coffee.

You would think that someone with an anxious personality like me would hate that, but I don’t. I love it! It makes me feel sooo happy, like I’m excited about something. Beyond the physical boost, I love the act of drinking coffee. Coffee drinking is a very social experience and, unlike social experiences like bars or rowdy parties, it encourages conversation and (this is probably just me being weird) creates a feeling of intimacy. I’m not the most social person in the world, but I love discussion.

Furthermore, I do love to mix business and pleasure. Since I associate coffee shops and coffee drinking with happiness, friendship and thinking, I find myself doing most of my work from my favorite shop. And it helps. When I graduate, I’m considering sharing my diploma with Hava Java as this degree is definitely a team effort!

See! I do other things than play Wow!

If you now think I’m even more of a nerd that you suspected, well, you’re probably right. But it’s ok, I’m a happy nerd. I had to pick my five favorite things to do outside the game because I’m so wordy, but no worries, I don’t limit myself to 5 non WoW activities!

To see how others spend their non WoW time, be sure to check out the thread at Blog Azeroth!

The gastronomy pictures was taken from
The youth hostel picture is from my personal collection and was taken in the Hostelling International Hostel in Santa Monica, California.
The Coffee picture was taken from

I’m Not Addicted to WoW, I Can Stop Anytime I Want!

January 18, 2010

Oh my, I went almost a whole week without playing WoW!

And you know what? I’m happy to say that I didn’t miss it at all! Oh, I missed updating my blog and I’ll admit that I scribbled WoW blog ideas on every piece of paper I came across. Also stressed quite a bit about how my last entry was on a touchy topic, poorly written in haste as I was nodding off at the airport. Word of advice, don’t do something like that if you’re planning to not have internet access for a week. Um, so yeah, to everyone who received shitty replies to comments, um, sorry?

Ok ok, so back on topic, not playing for a week was surprisingly easy. I guess it helped that I had IRL guild meetings all day and huge 800 player IRL raids (in plain English – social events/parties) every night. And let me tell you, when it comes to IRL raids, I’m totally one of those casual hardcore types. I don’t IRL raid often, but when I do, I do it right. Never mind the durability damage: burned hair, lack of voice, blisters on feet and suspicious bruises around eyes. It’ll be a big repair bill, but it was so worth it.

So it’s easy to get out of the gaming routine when the rest of your daily routine is turned upside down and inside out. Not so much when gaming is the only change of routine. I remember a time, about a year and a half ago, when I had to get my computer fixed. For three weeks, there was no email at home, no randomly reading websites, no instant messaging, and, and, worst of all, no WoW. Oh, the horror!

How did that work out for me?

Well, had I written a diary of the experience (note: I didn’t), it would have gone like this.

TITLE: Semi-Fictionish Journal Documenting 3 Weeks with No Computer.

Day 1

This isn’t so bad. Annoyed at having to go all the way to school to check my email, but otherwise it’s all good. Kind of bored though. Maybe I should do homework.

Have to say, though, there’s a bit of an itch to play. I wonder what my guildies are doing right now. Hmm. Might as well do some more homework.

Day 2

Why am I sort of having trouble breathing? And why am I biting my nails? Clearly I need to do more homework.

I wonder what my guildies are doing. I should call one of them. Let me see if I have someone’s number. I don’t. I’ll have to dig out some number from my emails at school tomorrow. Damn my stomach’s upset. I usually play WoW at this hour… How about some more of that homework.

Day 3

AAAAAHHH!!! MY HEART IS RACING AND I CANT BREATHE!!! And my nails are gone. My feet hurt from pacing. Skipped class to refresh my email at the library. I WANNA PLAY WOW I WANNA PLAY WOW I WANNA PLAY WOW. So anxious, anxious, anxious. On the bright side, I’m way ahead in all my courses.

Kind of getting sick of doing homework, good thing I wrote down a guildy’s phone number while I was refreshing my phone number. I might as well call him. I may have a phone phobia, but apparently I have a lack of repetitive behaviour phobia too.

Hope he doesn’t get too shocked hearing from me.

End of Week 1

Anxiety’s getting better. Still pacing a lot but can sleep again. Speaking of sleeping, I’ve been doing more and more of that. Never realized how many hours there are in a day. Days sure are long. Doing a lot of homework. Also cooking a lot. I love cooking.

Spent record time on the phone over the past few days. Spoke to my family for the first time in months. Also happy that I have a guildy who likes to talk on the phone. I wonder what the rest of the guild is doing. I should call my guildy again and ask.

Week 2

Worried that male guildy is getting the wrong idea from my frequent phone calls. Need to find other ways to occupy my time. Getting pretty sick of studying. Also seem to be putting on weight from all this food I’m cooking. I wonder whats on TV.

End of week 3

Computer should be back soon. Not sure I want it back. Sure, I spend the last 5 days doing nothing but watching TV and eating. But, you know, I’ve kind of forgotten about WoW. I’ll be really far behind too. Don’t want to have to catch up on dailies, rep grinds, gear, qq. It’s probably not worth getting back into the game. I should just find a new hobby.

How it all turned out

Until I had to get my computer repaired, I hadn’t realized how much of a nervous wreck I was. Pretty pathetic how lost I was without doing repetitive things all the time. On the bright side, those were pretty much the best weeks of my life in term of grades. Yet, I don’t think that WoW really gets in the way of shiny grades for me – as soon as the initial shock had passed, I replaced WoW with TV. And food. I must have put on 20 pounds during those three weeks. Then, once I found a new routine of time wasting, I didn’t want to go back to playing WoW.

Looks like I’m just destined to dorkness.

But anyway, this time I was just gone a week which, by most people’s standards, isn’t much. Can’t wait to do dailies! Or, um, whatever it is I do in game when I’m not raiding.

Life Does Have a Sense of Humour

December 15, 2009

Classmate (who plays WoW): You can recite the entire paladin talent tree but you can’t remember your student number, you know, the one you’ve had for every exam for the past 3 years?
Me: It’s all about priorities, dear.

I tried to find a picture with a guy, but apparently Games > Boys is still a new and controversial idea.

Ah yes, priorities. Two summers ago, I had a nasty fall about two hours before a raid. I was absolutely furious! Not because my left arm had gone numb with the impact, not because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to walk, not because the ambulance was taking its sweet time getting there. Nope! I was angry because I had finally convinced my guild to take down Magtheridon to get my Naruu title and there was no way in heck I would be back from the hospital on time.

On the bright side, raiding again the day after I got back from the hospital was the best rehab my left arm could have gotten. I didn’t even need physio. Who says video games are useless?

Look! A picture of my last three weeks! Except I don't look like that.

Anyway, after about two weeks of WoW starvation due to finals, I can finally play freely again. It’s sad that I felt extremely guilty for not religiously doing my daily random dungeons. As guilty as I felt for taking study breaks longer than a half an hour. So, in my new found freedom, I settle down with my junk food, my beer, my headset, ready to spend the entire evening goofing around… Then my mouse dies.

Oh, it had been on and off for awhile, but this time it was really dead. No amount of fiddling with the wire, hitting it, unplugging it and replugging it brought it back to life. I yelled at it for awhile (we all know that yelling doesn’t fix things, but it does make you feel better), then looked more closely at the wire. Teeth marks, chewing. A mouse had gotten ahold of my, um, mouse. My poor, lovely Logitech G5 had been cannibalized!

So instead of a relaxing evening with WoW, it was a hectic evening at the mall. WTB an electronics/computer store near my house. I did come across a paperback copy of Kushiel’s Mercy so I guess there’s a little blessing in everything. (I seriously hope mouse cannibalism is covered by the warranty though because it was a birthday present and I haven’t had it long.)

I get two days of freedom before my practical exam. And by two days of freedom, I mean two days of answering angry CAPSI council emails I’ve had on /ignore since the pre-finals sprint, two days of applying for summer hospital internships (hmm, what regions should I apply to? I’m thinking Edmonton, Toronto and Victoria… as in love I am with rural medicine, I want something crazy for once!), two days of writing thank you cards, two days of cleaning my room to get rid of mice…

Oh, and sometime in there I want to add something colourful to my blog sidebar. I like how I have the links now (except for that I need to work on my blogroll) but I’m so clueless with pictures. I know when I see something that I like and I’m getting better with Gimp, but I never know where to start. Any kind of suggestions are appreciated. Yes, any kinds. I’m open minded. Most of the time. And I moderate my comments.

EDIT: Corrected a lot of mistakes. Could tell that I wrote this while my brain was still fried from excessive cramming.