Personal Update

I wanted to write an entry a day for all of April. I’ve been using the schedule system for that, writing when I have something to write about, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I’ve lost the will to do things. And that goes for everything, not just blogging. I feel like I’ve gone numb.

Yesterday a friend asked me to come with her to one of our uni campuses to sit and work from around noon, and I didn’t answer her because just the thought of working on my thesis made me feel tight chested and brought tears to my eyes. I feel bad for not working, but the thought of working sends me into panic, so what am I supposed to do? For now, I’m just avoiding it. When it came down to fight or flight, I fled. And I’m not proud of that. But I don’t know what to do.

I spent a lot of Easter watching Grey’s Anatomy and going on trips with my parents, visiting my grandparents and my great-grandmother, taking our car to a service shop, driving to a place in the middle of nowhere where someone’s made an American Diner where people come from far away to eat and see. And sleeping. A lot of sleeping. 8-10 hours a night of sleeping.

Since I got back to the city I’ve been hiding in my room, when I’m not out shopping. Yesterday I went and bought some stuff and walked around town for a while. After I’m done writing this entry I’m going to do that all over again.

I’m working this weekend, at the museum. And I’ve got two weekends in May, since a girl quit. I might as well sell tickets and glasses and books, and make some money, since I’m incapable of working on my thesis, right?

My heart hurts, and I don’t know why. My parents, uncle, and grandfather put my grandmother’s urn in the ground earlier this week. That might be a contributing factor…

How are you all doing, dear readers?

~ Julie

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Feling Like a Failure

The truth is, only about 40% of people in my country finish their master’s degrees on time. That means 60% take extra time. I’m a part of the 60. That’s the majority. 6 to 4 majority. 3 to 2 majority. Two thirds majority. That’s not a failure. It’s common.

Then how come I feel so bad? It’s got to be because I don’t fail things. I don’t do things halfway. I never have. I once found out that I had to write a screenplay for the next day, something we could make a short film out of. My host dad told me I had two options: try like hell, or give up. So I spent the entire evening rewriting a short story I made once into a screenplay. We ended up not using it, because another guy in my group wrote one that was more doable, and we used that, but I was so scared of failing the assignment that I did it anyway. I spent all of Christmas break writing an assignment once, because the research required to do it in addition to the rest of my school work took all of fall semester, and it was due in January.

I don’t do things halfway. Not when it comes to school anyway, because all I’ve been told all my life is that school work is the foundation. I have to get good grades in middle school to get into the program I want for high school. I have to get good grades my first year because I want to go on exchange my second year. I had to get good grades there so that I wouldn’t get sent home. I had to get good grades my senior year to get into the study program I wanted in uni. I had to get good grades on BA level to be accepted into the MA program. I got good grades on all of my course work on MA level, and now I have to get a good grade on my master’s thesis to top it all off, so that I can get a good job that I will enjoy and be good at and deserve. But now, I’m not finishing it in May like planned. Now I’m not getting my degree until December.

But I’m gonna get it. I’m gonna figure out how to write 80 pages. I’m gonna figure out how to analyze my data. I’m gonna figure out how to finish the whole damn thing without suffering from panic attacks and depression and the occasional suicidal thought. I’m gonna do it. I’m not gonna be a failure. I’m gonna be a winner. Slightly delayed, but still a winner. I’m gonna do it.

Life Update 

Hello!

This entry is a quick update to the one I wrote two days ago, that you can read here if you haven’t read it already. 

To recap quickly, I’m struggling with panic attacks and depression related to my master’s thesis being due on the 15th of May. The amount of work is what’s causing the anxiety, and the anxiety makes me unable to work, so it’s a vicious circle. Yesterday I had a meeting with a guidance counselor, and we were in her office for 30-40 minutes and talked, and decided that the best for me is to apply for an extension. I filled out a standard form yesterday, and even though she told me to ignore the fact that it says I need to provide academic reasons and all that. I was still nervous after filling it out, even though she said it would go to her and she would approve it. But this morning I got an email saying I’ve got an extension and my new deadline is November 15th.

I should feel relieved. But I don’t. I feel numb. And weird. My body is tingling. I’m thirsty. I’m sleepy. I feel weird. My boyfriend says it could just be stress, built up stress, possibly leaving my body. The counselor told me to take “a few weeks off” to relax and get some distance from the thesis. I’m going to work tonight, and tomorrow I have an Indian themed dinner party to attend. On Saturday, I’m going home to my parents. To relax. Take care of myself. But how? How do I do that? All I’ve done for 19 years is go to school. I don’t know how to relax and take care of myself… How do I do that? 

~ Julie 

Pouring My Heart Out

If you’re unsure whether to do a masters degree, my advice is don’t. Don’t do it unless you’re 100% sure that’s what you want to do. I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t even thought about it until it was time to figure out my next step towards the end of my BA. I figured I’d do it, because I wasn’t ready to be an adult and go out in the real world yet. Now it’s just over a month until my thesis is due, and I’m having panic attack after panic attack, because I don’t t think I can do it, and I don’t know what to do.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with a guidance counselor, after advice from my thesis supervisor. He says he’ll support it if they ask him his opinion on whether I should get an extension. I just decided to Google thesis extensions, and now I’m sat here panicking because I’m worried I might not qualify. And that terrifies me. Because then I have to do this in the month that is left, and I don’t think I can do that. There’s too much work. And I get terrible anxiety every time I show up in uni trying to work. My chest and stomach hurt. My vision goes blurry. I can’t breathe. My entire body aches.

The website says I need academic reasons if I want to apply for an extension. Alternatively I can get two weeks with a doctor’s note for documented health reasons. And I don’t know if there are any. I don’t know if they qualify. Because I just want to blame myself… I always do when it comes to, well, anything. I don’t want to blame anyone else. I want to blame myself. But I don’t think I can take any more blame. I’m breaking down. And I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go from here…

A Busy Couple of Weeks!

Good afternoon, readers! It’s been almost a week since I last posted, and I apologize for my absence. I just thought I’d take some time to explain what’s going on in my usually not-ever-busy life.

Last Friday I was in uni – I had to come, someone brought cake! Then I had about a dozen errands to run due to being away for almost a week beforehand. I bought a new pillow! And let me tell you – a medium high hotel pillow, it’s the width of my bed, it is like sleeping on a cloud! I had planned to relax and maybe do some thesis work over the weekend, but that didn’t happen as I got a call from work asking if I could come on short notice, something to do with a mix-up of who was supposed to work and also someone being sick, so I had to fill in but yay money!

Then there’s this week… Monday started with me having to juggle two laptops and a USB stick in order to get an antivirus program downloaded, that was a nightmare… but I made it to uni at around 1pm! And I stayed until 6.30. On my way into my apartment, I met one of my roommates who informed me he was leaving to pick up his girlfriend from the airport so she’s staying with us for a week. I can’t complain – my boyfriend was here for two weeks in January (but the first week we don’t count because my roommates hadn’t arrived yet so it wasn’t overcrowded). Yesterday, that’s Tuesday, I got to uni at around 10pm and stayed until 6.40 and then walked home with a friend who lives close-by. Yesterday was a very good day, I got a lot of stuff done! But, as I’ve mentioned on here before, a productive day for me usually results in an unproductive one the following day, which is why I’m writing this right now. Yesterday I wrote 1000+ words on my thesis – today I’ve got less than 300. But I don’t want to go home, I don’t feel like I can be lazy, because I have to exploit the time I have to work while I can due to how the rest of the week and next week look:

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the blood bank at 1.30. That means I need to get work done before 1pm – which in all likelihood means I’ll not be going to uni tomorrow, but working from home for maybe two or three hours beforehand; I also need to make sure I eat two decent meals before going down there… And in the evening I’m supposed to be going to a social thing with JEF (Young European Federalists) where a woman is supposed to talk about EU for a little while and then we eat pizza and drink beer (or not, since I’ll be donating blood earlier in the day)… but we’ll see how I feel. On Friday there’s girls’ night at a friend’s house at 6pm, which means I need to study earlier in the day and go home and eat and possibly get my wine if I decide I want to drink that. And on Saturday I’m going out of town at 2pm so I need to have packed and bought the things I still need to buy before Saturday which, with the rest of my week, means I probably need to do that today! Which makes me want to just leave uni right now to get that stuff done… but I feel like I need to work on my thesis since I’ll be away from Saturday until next Thursday and I have so little time left to do things!

Last week I wrote about how I feel like I don’t have enough time to finish my thesis in time because my supervisor wants each chapter by the end of the month and there’s no time to work on the feedback he gives on the previous chapter (at least I think I wrote about this…)… Yeah. All the work I’ve done this week has been on the literature review chapter I sent in at the end of January; I’ve not worked on the methodology chapter I sent in last week at all, and I’ve not started on the chapter that’s supposed to be due at the end of this month either! I’ll have a week when I get back from my trip… I don’t understand how I’m supposed to be done with my entire thesis by the end of April! Well, it’s due on the 15th of May, but I need to send the whole thing in to my supervisor, work on the feedback he gives me, and send it to print by the 10th or 11th, since the 15th is a Monday and they don’t work weekends! I’ve no idea how I’m supposed to finish on time, but I just have to try, and if I can’t then I can’t… It’s my supervisor who’ll be the one to tell me whether he thinks I need to take more time, and I do want a good grade, but I also just want to finish…

Anyway, that’s my rant of the day! How’s everyone doing this week?

~ Julie

Master Depression is Real

Good morning to you, wonderful reader!

It is Wednesday morning, nearly 11pm, and I’m sat on a couch in my parents’ living room. I was supposed to go back to the city Monday morning, but on Sunday night we heard that the wind had grown stronger and found out that we were going to have a little storm, wind-wise, and although we didn’t get any notifications about the ferries being cancelled I didn’t particularly want to go out on the water in wind that strong, and especially not after my mom told be about one ferry that had a window taken out by a big wave not long ago. So I decided to stay here a little longer. Just as well, actually, because on Sunday I ordered my new phone, which I mentioned in this entry here. It said it would arrive in 1-3 working days, so we were hoping it would arrive yesterday, but when dad came home from a work trip he said the tracking said it’s in the city and therefore he thought it’d be on the first ferry out to our town today. He’s the one who’ll get the message about it though so I just have to wait… I did get a few other things done the past couple of days as well, so my time here hasn’t just been an extension of the weekend; yesterday I had a dentist appointment (and was told everything looks great), and I went with my mom to a meeting about noise reduction/isolation of houses, because our town is right next to an air force base which is getting new F35 fighter planes which will make a lot more noise than the F16s  I grew up with.

On Monday, I felt that I did good work wise. I wrote three paragraphs on my methodology chapter, and sent it in to my supervisor (it was 6 pages long, not finished, but he’s been asking for it). Then I wrote about 600-700 words more on my literature review, which still needs about 8 more pages before it’s finished, but I’m getting there, and that one doesn’t need to be finished before the end of April when my supervisor will get my entire thesis, all chapters put together, for one final reading. So I felt good! That was until my supervisor sent back the methodology chapter with his comments yesterday.

I read the email, and then all the comments on the chapter. Then I started to cry. My 16 pages long literature review needed to be restructured (which actually means rewritten, because most of the parts had to be changed as well, not just moved around), and rewriting makes it shorter, but it needs to be about 20 pages long, so I need to write more. That should’ve taken about 2 weeks, he said, and I’m sure I could have done it if each day consisted of about 40 hours instead of 24, but it doesn’t, so I’m not finished. And now my methodology needs to be rewritten, clarified, a lot of stuff needs adding and explaining… a friend of mine told me to remember that I’d written it in a hurry so of course it wouldn’t be great, and another told me to just go into robot mode and get stuff done, and my ever-supporting boyfriend told me I always react like this, I just need to remember that I’ve always been fine in the past and I will be fine this time too, it just feels like I won’t because it’s my master’s thesis. My mom told me that it sounds like I just need to sit down and work.

And here I am, blogging. This entry has passed 600 words by now, so I know I am capable of writing lots of words fast, so how come everything on my thesis is going so slow? I think I know the answer to that. I don’t want to write it. I don’t want to do the work. I just want to get the degree so I can move on with my life. I’ve been in school for 19 years, that’s 3/4 of my life, and the 6 years before that I can barely remember, apart from some glimpses here and there. They say that university, the years spent as a student, are supposed to be some of the best of your life. But they’re also the most stressful. I constantly have the feeling that I’m not quite done for the day because there’s always something that needs doing, because you’re never done, but you can’t spend all your awake hours working, either. But when I’m not working I feel guilty. And then I struggle to work because I feel so bad about myself. And then I feel like I’m stuck in this vicious circle that I can’t get out of, I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, everything is just black, the air is black, and it’s pushing down on me and I can’t breathe and I just want it all to end.

I never thought it was possible for me to not want to live. I’ve always been the person who looked forward to growing up, to being my own boss, in charge of myself, able to go wherever I want and do whatever I want. And at 24 I’m supposed to be able to do that. And in a way, I am. No one forced me to do this. I did this to myself. I chose to do a master’s degree because I didn’t feel adult enough to start working at 22, almost 23, when I was done with my bachelor’s degree. And I wanted to spend more time with my friends. But now I’m sat here, it’s March, spring is on its way, I have 9 weeks until I should be done with my thesis and send it to print, and everything feels so undoable. Like I’ll never be finished. Like no matter what I do, I’ll never get done, because something will always need restructuring and rewriting. There are days where I wish I could just quit, run away, but I can’t, because I have half a million of student loans to pay back because I chose to study instead of finding a job. And because of that, there are days where I just wish I could end it all…

sometimes the day just ends