Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Horrible Momentum

Let's see. Where exactly does this horrible story start.

In a way it starts with me deciding that I needed to have an emergency fund again. This lead to me withdrawing a sizable chunk of money to keep on hand in physical form in a safe location in my room. The idea is that in the case of some big emergency I have this extra money hidden away in the form of cash, which has some uses that my check card just can't cover.

This means that I have to manage my finances a bit more strictly, and also means that I have a general background nervousness about being low on money. Now if you take the emergency money and add it back I'm not actually low, but I'm trying to save that, so I now have a state of percieved poverty beyond my normal poverty, along with a goal which may be unreasonable, the failure of which will be damaging to me mentally.

There are also two other things that I'm not going to discuss which contributed to background anxiety.

So now I have enough built up background tension that it's affecting my sleep patterns again. I've made significant advances in my own struggles with sleep, but I lost a lot of ground the past few days.

Nevertheless I was studying, studying quite a bit for a Psych 202 test which I had Monday, as well as a Psych 209 midterm that I knew I had Friday. Also my Hebrew test which I knew I had Thursday. I knew these things, I had them written out in my planner and on my smaller white board, and I was ready for them.

So Sunday, in order to break the studying fatigue and because I do so most Sundays, I head to Federal way to my current D&D group. I really should've been more insistent on leaving early, and will be in the future, but I know from past experience that the night before a test I have only a 30% (tops) chance of sleeping anyway, so I just said screw it. We get back far too late, and as I expected it didn't matter because I couldn't sleep anyway.

It's now Monday around 5:30 a.m. in this story. I'm hungry, and there's a distinct need for caffeine, so I decide to go get drive through breakfast from McDonalds. I have a noted weakness for their breakfasts. It's fairly cold and my car is finiky, so I let it warm up for about 5 minutes, as I've gotten used to. I back up, then shift to drive and get the [CHECK GEARBOX] error that I've begun to think of as "part of how my car works." The standard procedure here is simple. Car off. Car on. More warming time, and try again. I've been through this at least 200 times over the years I've operated this vehicle, and we've tried time and time again to get it fixed to no avail.

Here's where things go from bad to worse. Car off. Car... fail. Lights on, raido on, then [CHECK ENGINE] a battery light and an oil light.

This is exacerbated by the fact that my car is now blocking the alleyway.

A few minutes lost to denial and panic, a few minutes spent in very hurried thought, then I wake Adam far earlier then he's used to with the idea that he will steer and I'll push the car back into the spot. A bit of humility later we also wake Kevin, so that his much lighter form will be used to steer as Adam helps me push.

I haven't gotten it checked out in any official way yet, but I'm thinking it's the spark plug. That would explain why the battery has power (to the lights radio etc) but the engine won't start.

So now my car is stalled, which adds to greater anxiety, and is going to need repairs, which brings us back to poverty etc. etc.

It was in this nerve wracked state that I went off to take my midterm. Not the best move I know, and I'm not saying I have an excuse for that, I'm making an excuse for something that happened after that. You'll see.

So. Take the test, I think I did fairly well with only one question that really stalled me, and a few that I'm iffy about, but even so I know I can recover from this even if it was a bit of a hit.

At this point in the story it's 10:00, I've got sleep deprivation, the tailspin of the caffeine buzz that I used to overcome my sleep deprivation to take the test, car based anxiety compounding money based anxiety along with other anxieties. It was at this point that I did something which I do more often then I will admit, and which is the bane of my existence, and the singular flaw which has defined my failures over the past few years.

I quit.

I said screw it, I've taken my test, I don't really need the psych 209 lecture and I went back to my apartment to decompress.

I can't excuse that. That was a failure on my part. I can explain it, as I hopefully have, but not excuse it. That wasn't it though, the story takes a horrible twist.

I got nothing done yesterday followed by a long sleepless night of accomplishing even less. I opened my mail this morning and found something with horrifying implications. An e-mail from the PSYCH 209 guys mentioning "The test yesterday." Going back through my planner shows that I have a recorded PSYCH 209 test Friday. My white board has that written in large black letters, but the record has been challenged, and digging up my syllabus I see a death sentence.

The lecture I skipped was not a lecture. That was a test that I was sure was four days later.

Brief moments of profanity later I flip through the syllabus to the exams heading. I'll just quote it for you.

"Exams. We will have three exams (multiple choice/short answer). Each Exam will cover one third of the course (no cumulative exam). All exams are required, and each exam will be offered only once."

In case you didn't catch that, "All exams are required, and each exam will be offered only once."

Further panic leads me to the phrase "Makeups are offered only if you missed a test or deadline for a justifiable, uncontrollable, and documented reason."

I don't consider my actions justifiable, or beyond my control, and God knows how you would document them.

Looking through the grading policies section of the syllabus confirms my fears. I'm screwed. Even if the "required" bit didn't entail some grand repercussion I can't make a sufficient grade in this course any more. Faced with that, I cut my losses, and dropped the course.

That, for the record, is what I'm trying to make an excuse for. I'll take Psych 209 over the summer, which will make my summer quarter much more like an actual quarter then I had planned, but if that's what it takes then so be it.

Efforts are underway to get my car repaired without significant expenditure. I have a psych advising session setup for arranging things, and I've updated my schedule to account for the fact that I do still have a test coming up this week. Still...

It always seems to be like this. At the moments where I think I'm making progress, I take what I think is a minor bump, and through horrible momentum end up here, carried over fates precipice by weakness and circumstance.


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