What’s the go?

Hey all,

So it’s been a while since I’ve been on here – I’ve been trying to get myself back together with somewhat limited success.

But I thought I’d give you an update about what has been happening while I’ve been gone, and why it may be a while before I’m properly back.

After a heap of heavy family and emotional stuff through the end of 2016 and the start of 2017, my mental health was sitting on a knife-edge when I initially dropped off the radar here. However, I didn’t really acknowledge how bad I had gotten at that point, so I kept going with 90% of my normal stuff (work, uni, life) because I was determined that I wasn’t going to let myself go back to where I was 5 years ago.

BAD MOVE! Determination alone is not enough to fix your mental and physical health.

I crashed, quite spectacularly. I was exhausted all the time, but couldn’t sleep because I was so WIRED from my anxiety. I was also physically unwell – I’d had a cold during January, and just never really kicked it. I tried to go to the gym, and all that did was push me further down – Hello CFS, I did not miss you in the slightest. Post-exertion malaise SUCKS BALLS.
I ended up dropping 3 of my 4 university subjects, dropping my work hours to 1 shift per week (and taking several weeks off as well, thank god I’m casual at work).

After 3 weeks of having daily (often multiple times daily) anxiety/panic attacks, I got myself in to a specialist doctor. After a barrage of testing, he diagnosed me with a couple of genetic conditions (Pyrrole disorder and MTHFR). I got one from each side of the family – talk about genetic lottery!
I’m now getting treatment for both conditions – I’m on a huge number of supplements (both conditions cause significant deficiencies in several important vitamins and minerals) and things are beginning to get better.
I’m back at the doctor in a couple of weeks to retest and see if my levels are getting back to what they should be, but I’m feeling better already. My anxiety has backed off significantly – it’s not gone, but I haven’t had an anxiety/panic attack in 2 months. I’m still tired, but nowhere near as bad as I was. I managed to go to the gym and it didn’t wipe me out.

I’m part-time at uni now, and will be graduating at the end of next year. I’ve increased my work hours back to 5 shifts per fortnight, and I’m beginning to get the housework stuff back under control.
We got a new cat in the midst of the crash, because having a furry friend really does help – if you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen pictures of her there.
I’m knitting/crocheting/crafting like a madwoman because it helps keep me level, and I’m trying to get back to cooking and eating healthy because my crash ended in me putting on 5kg :S

I may not be back to posting regularly for a little while longer, but I want to get back to blogging again. I’m not putting a timeframe on anything at the moment, just until things level out and are a little more predictable again.

~K

Sorry!

Apologies for being so very very slack over the last… god, 3 months? 4 months?… something like that.

Life has been super-busy, and somewhat stressful.

I did 4 weeks of prac this semester, as well as all my normal assignments, and then on top of that I got SICK and missed part of one of my prac weeks.
I now have to make up a week of prac, and I’m just waiting for the school to get back to me about when I’ll be doing that.
But since I’ve been sick, I’ve had trouble getting back up to where I was before. I don’t think I gave myself enough time to really properly get better, because everything has been back-to-back and I just couldn’t take the time off.

I’m just SO DAMN TIRED, and very distracted. Concentrating on anything is incredibly difficult 😦 My anxiety has been playing up again and I keep second-guessing myself, but I think I must be on a downward depression cycle as well because motivation is zero. I’ve just got to push myself through my exams, and  then in a week I’ll be DONE! Hopefully I can get through without breaking, because I have plans for the summer break and I don’t want to have to spend the whole time recovering.

~K

Weird times

So the last few weeks have been a bit more than just hectic.

For starters, my priority order is “Family – uni – paid work – unpaid work”, so this blog and a few volunteer things I do have fallen by the wayside.

Starting with family – my Mum is in the process of buying a new house, and is asking for our input a lot. This has been rather time consuming.
Then, the new job that Hubby started fell through. He is now in the process of transitioning back to being self-employed (which he hasn’t been for several years) and THAT has me worrying about how the hell we’re going to pay all the bills while we sort it out.

Uni – I’ve been on prac for the past 3 weeks, so I’ve been working full-time hours and not getting any $$ for it. I also had to do an essay and study for an exam in that time. I’ve just finished prac, and now I have 2 more essays to write in the next 10 days.

Paid work – referring back to the ‘Family’ section, it appears that once again, I am going to be the primary source of income until Hubby gets work sorted out. This is more than a little scary, as pay day is offset from worked weeks by about a fortnight, so my next pay isn’t for nearly 2 weeks, and it will be from the single shift I’ve worked in the second half of prac.

The result of all of this is that I’ve spent the time that I’m not sleeping or on prac planning and re-planning the bill payments for the next month, and worrying about it all. My sleep has suffered, which has had knock-on effects for my mental and physical health.

I currently feel like absolute crap, but I’ve now got 3 weeks where I can pick up extra shifts while I don’t have classes. I also have to catch up on my reading and study from the start of semester, and get to work on the volunteer stuff I’m supposed to be doing.

I’m kind of over everything at the moment, and I’m stressing out over the money thing, so I don’t know if I’m going to be able to post much, but I’ll do my best. Hopefully it all sorts itself out soon, and life can get back to *somewhat* normal.

~K

What I’ve learned from 8 years of studying – Part 1

I’m what you might call a ‘perpetual student’. I finished high school at the end of 2006, and since then I’ve only had 18 months where I haven’t been studying in some capacity.
My first attempt at uni only lasted 3 semesters – I was doing an Arts degree and by the end of that 3rd semester I hadn’t even decided what my major would be, so I figured I should take a break and work out what I wanted to do.
I got a job as a receptionist at an insurance company, and worked there for the 18 months of “no study” until I decided that I wanted to go back and study Psychology.
This year will be my 7th year straight of studying at university, and in that time I’ve finished the Psychology degree and started my second undergrad degree (Nursing).

I’ve learned a few things over the past 10 years, and I’d like to share them with you so you don’t have to find them out the hard way.

1. Uni is not real life
No matter how much  your uni tries to tell you that they’re educating you for the outside world – things are NOTHING like uni when you get there. Number 1 pet hate – lecturers saying “Group work at uni is good preparation for performing in a team in the workplace”. NOPE. For starters, you generally get people in the workplace who are actually experts (or at least experienced) in what the group is working on, so it’s not a case of “blind leading the blind” like it is in uni, and there’s almost always a clear group leader (also unlike uni groups).
You could do 1000 practical placements as part of your degree, but when you actually get to doing it as a job, you’ll find there’s a million things you haven’t learnt.
Learning does not stop at graduation.

2. Do your readings
Seriously – if the lecturer suggests you should read a chapter, you should at least LOOK at it. In-depth reading is not always required, and even skimming is better than not looking at it at all. Lecturers don’t set the readings for no reason.
Sometimes, those readings can be the difference between superficial and comprehensive understanding of a concept, and that can mean the difference between a Pass and a Distinction in the exam.

3. Lecturers really do want you to do well
They’re not all sitting there, conspiring to put super-difficult questions on the exam (OK, some might be, but most of them aren’t). I have never had a lecturer who wasn’t willing to help a student who needed it and ASKED FOR IT.
Remember, this isn’t high school – nobody is going to offer you help if you don’t ask for it. You need to seek out the assistance if you want/need it.
Attend your classes, talk to your lecturers, talk to your tutors, and if you have questions – ask them. If you need help, ASK. Which leads me to…

4. Don’t leave it too late
This applies to more than just assignments. Don’t let yourself get so stressed and unwell that your only option is to quit the class without at least speaking to your lecturer/school counsellor/admin office first. If you find yourself in a position where you aren’t coping, speak to someone about it early. There are usually heaps of resources available for students, from food banks and interest-free loans to free counselling or even additional tutoring. Depending on where you live, these things are typically either free or very low cost.
For example – there’s a food bank run by a local church in my area, and it’s $7 for a 6 month membership. You register the number of people in  your family and any dietary requirements, and you get free fruit & vegetables and “basics” like pasta, rice, bread, canned meat/fish, and milk, with other ‘luxury items’ (like biscuits, processed cereals, etc) available for a very low cost (e.g. $0.20 for a 500g box of sugary cereal).

5. Your physical and mental health are more important than your job or your marks
If you are sick, nothing will go right. I know that from experience.
If you’re working 30+ hours a week as well as studying full time, maintaining a house, and trying to actually see your friends and family, you’re going to burn out.
DON’T DO IT. If your school recommends only working a certain number of hours per week (e.g. my uni recommends 15hrs max if you have a full-time study load), try and stick to that. It will probably be hard. You’ll probably be poor. It will definitely mean reworking and prioritising things to save money where you can. But it is SO WORTH IT, particularly when you get awesome marks and make it to the end of semester without a nervous breakdown.
Find out what government payments/bursaries/scholarships you are eligible for, and apply for them all. Work heaps over the uni breaks and save the money for during semester.

6. Nobody cares if you wear the same things all the time
Honestly. It’s highly likely that no-one will even notice. If you know something suits you and you’re comfortable in it, wear it. Who cares if you wore the exact same thing last week? And denim all looks the same – nobody will realise that you have worn the same jeans 3 days in a row, as long as they look clean and don’t smell.
Have enough clothes for 2 weeks (this allows for exam/finals time when household chores tend to be low on the priority list). This is particularly important for underwear and socks. You can get away with re-wearing a shirt that you’ve already worn once, but it’s not a good idea to wear socks or underwear for more than one day without washing them (that’s a health thing, not just a “gross and smelly” thing).
If you’re still worried about what people will think, make it a uniform – if it’s intentional, it’s OK. Some of the best business people in the world have a “uniform”, because it reduces decision fatigue if you don’t have to think about what you’ll wear. Find a style of shirt you love, and buy it in 4 different colours. Get 3 pairs of the same jeans in different colour washes. Adding a different scarf or other accessories can completely change up an outfit.

7. Be yourself, but be open to new experiences
If you’re not a “big party” person, you don’t have to go to them. You don’t have to sit with people all the time for meals or between classes – no-one is going to judge you if your companion is a book. Highly likely that no-one will even notice, they’re all too busy worrying about their own stuff.
On the flip side, if you’re a super-sociable person, don’t always be surrounded by people. Take a little bit of time on your own to do things, even if it’s just going to the library on your own for a few hours. You may find you even enjoy this ‘alone time’.
That said, whether you like parties or not, if there’s a university-hosted dinner/conference centred around something you’re interested in, GET YO ASS THERE! You can probably start gaining networking contacts in  your future professional area. I got my job at the hospital through meeting someone at one of these sorts of events. They’re definitely worth the missed study time.


Part 2 will be up in a couple of weeks, once I’m done with mid-semester assessments.

~K

Confession…

So, we all know how excited I was about Outlander as a TV show…

I have a confession to make.

I have the last 3 episodes of that season still sitting, unwatched, on my iPad.

Why are they still there, after 3 months of university holidays?

Because I know what happens. And with the brilliant way that the rest of the season has been done, I honestly don’t know if I can bring myself to actually watch them. For a lot of the last few chapters, READING it was bad enough and I could sort of half block it out while still getting the main points. That’s not possible when you’re watching it.

So I just don’t know if I can do it. I’ll have to make a decision soon though, because season 2 is not far off!

~K

2015 Wrap-up

Here’s the mandatory post about “how things went in 2015”. This is somewhat based off of my “Goal List” from the start of this year (find it in this post). Over the next few days, I’ll be working out my Goal List for 2016, and I should post that sometime during January.

University/study
I was remarkably successful in this category! I graduated from my Bachelor of Psychology (we won’t speak of my final marks for that, but I GRADUATED!) and now have a piece of paper and another line for my resume.
I’m one year through my Bachelor of Nursing, and my marks are SO much better! As of the end of this year, my GPA is 6.0 and this makes me eligible for the “High Achievers” events (e.g. a morning tea a few weeks ago, that may result in a nursing job!).
I managed to maintain my designated “study hours” fairly well, but there is definitely room for improvement (particularly in regards to getting assignments started earlier). I started all my assignments this year approx 1-2 weeks before they were due, but I’m going to aim for having them COMPLETED 1 week before their due next year. I only had to pull 1 all-nighter for an assignment, and OMG I felt like crap. I am too old to do that anymore.

Health/beauty
I did much better at (mostly) eating at “normal” meal times, and I consistently made packed lunches for uni. Hubby took over his own lunch making around June, and he’s also been good at that.
I’ve done much better at not worrying/stressing about things that aren’t under my control, and I’ve felt far more level emotionally (particularly in the last 6mths). I’ve also been asking for help when I needed it, not once it was too late and I’d already burnt out.
We’ve been eating far more food that I make from scratch, and this has reduced our food costs. We’re still spending an absolute FORTUNE every week on soft drink and energy drinks, but I can confidently say that I’m not the one drinking those. Hubby just isn’t ready to give them up, and I’m not going to push the point because we can (sort of) afford it.
I swapped out driving for walking and bike riding (or public transport) for about 90% of my transport needs, and this helped increase my fitness levels and reduce our fuel costs. It’s much easier at our new place than it was at our old house though – EVERYTHING is within walking distance, while at our old place nothing was (closest supermarket to our old place was 4km away. New place – there’s 3 within 800m). I only joined a gym in the final few months of 2015, but I’ve been going fairly regularly (barring a few disaster weeks).
I BECAME A MORNING PERSON!!!!! Well, sort of. I became a person who regularly gets up at 7am on days when I have nothing booked before lunchtime (or at all) and I feel pretty good about that. It took until the second half of the year to really get there, and the 6:30am starts for my nursing prac really helped cement the morning thing. I’m still not exactly cognitive before caffeine, and my brain doesn’t really wake up until at least 2hrs after I get up, but I’m no longer nocturnal so that’s a good thing.

Organisation/management
I successfully remained off of Facebook during semester time this year, and I will be repeating that next year. I also feel like I wasted less time on Tumblr and Twitter. I may have swapped this out a bit with this blog and YouTube though. I still feel I wasted less time online than previously though.
I culled my wardrobe, and now pretty much everything in there fits me and is in the styles I want to wear.
I *tried* to plan out my days… with mixed success. Some days, it went really well. Others were an absolute disaster. I let it slide a bit in the second half of the year, but I’m going to continue working on that next year as well.
Did better this year with keeping on top of the housework – I could definitely do better, but the only times I really didn’t keep the house reasonably tidy were exam weeks… and I figure that’s forgivable.

Creativity
I still don’t have my reading corner, but we’re looking at possibly replacing our couch this year, so I’ll hopefully be getting a big squishy one-person chair when we do that, so I can set up said reading corner.
I have successfully been trying at least 1 new recipe a month, sometimes almost 1 per week. Only 2 of them got rejected by Hubby, so that’s a good start!
I averaged 1 recreational book per month, but they were mostly crammed into my uni breaks… I would judge that a success 🙂
I’ve been spending more time knitting/crocheting, and I’ve almost finished a gorgeous jumper. It’s a little tight atm (mainly around the tummy area), but by the time the weather gets cold enough for me to wear it I aim to have lost a bit of weight so it will all be fine.

Relationships
I did a bit better at keeping in regular contact with my grandparents this year, but it’s never enough. I lost my Nan only a week ago, and the amount of contact I had was never enough. I wish I could have gone down to visit more often, but flights are expensive and we haven’t exactly had spare $$ this year. So many regrets, but it’s too late. Everyone give your grandparents a hug, because you’ve only got a finite time to do it.

Overall, a mostly good year. The past month has been hard, but up until that point things were going well. Normal life has still been good during the past month though, which has made it easier to deal with the bad stuff.

Happy New Year to you all (because I probably won’t be doing another post before then), and I’ll see you in 2016!

~K

Job hunting

I’m applying for an AIN position at the nursing home where I’m doing my placement… But this means giving them my resume, which I haven’t even LOOKED at since 2010.

I now have to find the file and update said resume tonight, so I can submit my application tomorrow (seeing as tomorrow is our last day of prac).

This is going to be fun.

~K

Discoveries

I just found my list of “Goals for 2015”, and it’s interesting to see how many I’ve already been doing, even without actually looking at the list (heck, I forgot it even existed!). I originally posted these on the blog back in January as part of the “New Year New Life” series (Day 6 is where I have my goal list).

For each of the categories, here’s how I’ve done this year:

Relationships – have still been a bit slack with the “writing to grandparents” thing, but I’ve done better with the other two items (setting aside time for Hubby & not feeling guilty about saying “no”).

Organisation & Management – I’ve gotten MUCH better at keeping up-to-date with the housework, and I think that is partly because our house is half the size of our old one.
I’ve culled my wardrobe, and now it’s only got the style of things I wear and like (except for the dresses. I didn’t get rid of many of those because I only really wear dresses in summer. If I don’t wear them this summer I’ll get rid of them). I also bought a few new items that are in keeping with my style.
I haven’t done quite so well with the “fix it immediately or chuck it” thing – my mending pile is still a reasonable size, because there are a few items I can’t bring myself to get rid of. This sort of comes under the “stop holding onto things that are not useful/required” thing too.
I’ve been mostly planning out my days in the morning and following that plan – it doesn’t always go how I want it too, I’m still consistently putting too many things on my to-do list for a particular day.

Health & Beauty – I have been quite good at eating proper meals at proper times, as well as making packed lunches for uni. I started out making Hubby’s lunch for him the night before, but that fell off during exam time last semester and now he just makes his own. I’ve also managed to significantly reduce the amount of pre-packaged/pre-mixed foods we buy, and I have gotten to the point where 90% of our food is made from scratch. I still buy a few things that I can’t replicate at home (like a particular brand of chic-chip cookies that are SO ADDICTIVE and tinned fruits).
I’ve been driving far less since we moved to this new house. I’ll generally ride my bike to & from uni or get Hubby to drop me off and walk home, and I walk to the shops. Just recently, I’ve taken to driving to do the shopping, because I’ve discovered a really good & cheap fruit&veg shop in the big shopping centre that’s about 15mins drive away.
I’ve been very good at making sure I get at least 7hrs of sleep per night, but I haven’t really done much yoga this year. I’ve been doing more pretty stuff with my hair now it’s longer though – I can finally put it up in a proper ponytail, and even use one of those bun donut things! I’ve recently bought a whole heap of new earrings and pretty hair clips too, because for prac we’re supposed to have our hair all up and no dangly earrings (I bought a whole heap of pretty studs).

Creativity – I haven’t set up a reading corner, mainly because we don’t really have the furniture to do it and we can’t afford to buy it atm. I’ve been reading recreationally still though, and I’ve been trying new recipes regularly. I was doing fairly well with the “blogging regularly” thing until I got out of the habit over the June-July break. I’m going to try and do better from now on.

University – so far, I’m maintaining a GPA of 6.25 (WOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!), I generally stick to my designated “study hours” (except for assignments), and I THINK I’ve been able to improve my study practices.
I’ve been wasting less time online, mainly because I’ve stayed off of Facebook. That thing is a complete blackhole! I don’t seem have replaced the time I would have spent on Facebook with other websites though, I still use them about the same amount that I did when I was using Facebook.
I still procrastinate, BADLY. Particularly procrasti-baking and procrasti-cleaning.

So, I think I’ve made reasonable progress. We’ll see how things go for the rest of the year!

~K

My “process” has been disrupted

Hubby broke his finger last Saturday at work.

He wouldn’t even let me strap it until Sunday evening (after I called in the “big guns” – our doctor friend), and then he avoided going to the doctor to get an X-ray until Wednesday.

The tip of his right ring finger is crushed, and he is now off work for the week.

This is annoying for me, because I have a process, and now he’s in the middle of it and not helping :S

Case in point – Friday morning is when I wash the sheets and towels, but because Hubby is home, he’s still in bed asleep. So I can’t wash the sheets. There’s no point putting the towels through on their own, the load would be too small to be worth it in our machine.

I’ll get back to doing my essay now I’ve had that rant. We are at t-10hrs until it is due.

~K