Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lovely Day

Today has been one of those perfect spring days, and it's only halfway over! This is my only day off this week with a 35 hour work weekend staring me in the eye, and the weather decided to provide some happiness. I picked up my DSLR for the first time in a long while and snapped some various lovelies around my backyard as I did some yard work. I'm about to go for a run, take a nap/rest time on the couch, then go mountain bike with some sweet ladies!
 Some of my pretty ceramic pots broke over winter!

A bee!
Our screen door doesn't close because the door is too small for the frame, so we use a paintbrush to keep it closed!

Monday, April 7, 2014

I haven't learned a thing!

At the end of every semester in college, I have felt like I didn't learn anything. Like I was so crazy busy during the semester just trying to get an A that everything left my brain after taking the test. Now that I am further into college I still feel that way at the end of every semester, but there is the realization that I did learn something in previous semesters.

This afternoon I was reading a chapter in a textbook and in just one simple paragraph, it went over a months worth of learning in Anatomy & Physiology I. In eight short sentence it summarized all the hard work I put into a topic that I remember being so extremely difficult and studying so hard for it only to feel like I still didn't understand it. But as I read the paragraph I realized I knew everything I was reading and could even expand on it by a whole lot. I actually remembered something! It seems silly that something so small could give me such encouragement to keep trudging on towards the end of this semester, but it really does. I often feel like I'm lucky getting the grades I receive and that it's just a fluke, but this helps me realize that the hard work I'm putting in now really does help me in the future, which will include more than just good grades - it'll be real live humans! That's not a scary thought at all.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brain fart: my life is actually busy.

So apparently towards the end of Spring Break I had a brain fart and wrote this post about how I have so much free time and am bored. Turns out it was just during spring break, despite working almost 60 hours that week, and my life in reality is actually crazy busy.

A couple of days after I wrote the post, Vince read it, laughed, and said, 'Ha, that's funny. I don't think you really have free time.' So then it made me wonder if I was just hiding it from him? Making it seem like I have more work then I really have? Over-exaggerating things so he'd feel bad for me?

After a quick peek at my handy-dandy planner, I realized I was waaaaaaaay underestimating how much I do every week. Turns out it felt like I was always watching TV or was on the computer when I was home because I was rarely home! Just looking back through my planner makes me question my sanity and I wonder how I'm still standing at the end of the week because most weeks I had some place I needed to be on 6 or 7 days. I am not writing this for a 'good job' or 'you are awesome' because there are SO many people who do far more and far harder things than I, but maybe just a reminder to myself that I'm not a total slacker and that I am actually doing things.

This week came upon me like a shit storm and I've been stressing out a little about it since I just have so much going on, and am nursing either a cold or really bad allergies. This morning while driving to babysit I thought, 'Hmm, I think I feel this way at the beginning of every week, and by mid-week I just don't care and accept that I have things to do.' And lo and behold, this morning I really didn't care about everything going on and was like, 'Whatever! I'm doing this.'

An example of my week that we're in the midst of, which honestly reflects most weeks of my life:
Sunday: work 7 hours at Taylor House (after working a 24 hours shift the day before), apply for a fourth job because life isn't crazy enough but I want the experience, write a scholarship essay, hangout with my family

Monday: Do an online collaborate session for class, clean the house (while still avoiding laundry that hasn't been done in way too many weeks), go grocery shopping, do some food prep for the week, do some reading for class, revise essay

Tuesday: do some reading, attend open lab for a couple hours, go to class for three hours, go to the nursing home to get patient information, eat dinner, read for a pharmacology quiz, take said quiz, do a pharmacology case study, type up patient information and look up all their drugs (thankfully only 8), read some more, wash scrubs, socks, underwear, and sports bra in the sink because none are clean, make dinner and prep meals for the next day, finish hand sewing my nurse purse

Wednesday: wake up at 6:30 for clinicals, take temperature to make sure I'm not contagious if I am sick, sadly accept that I am not contagious, go to cliniclas/simlab for 6 hours, head straight to lab for 3 hours, feel like I'm dying since I wasn't able to eat all day and realize my lunch has been out of the fridge for 6 hours and is now inedible (we did have a lunch break at 10:30 but after my first bite I didn't feel well so didn't eat my zoodles and amazing meatballs), head straight to babysitting for a couple hours and get there by riding my bike 2 miles in the sleet/snow/rain/WINDDDD-so-strong-I-almost-fell-off-my-bike without a hat/helmet/gloves/jacket, only wearing my Patagonia sweater because I forgot everything at home, eat emergency BLT's as soon as I get home because STARVING, then make something more substantial so I have leftovers for the next day

Thursday: wake up at 6 and drive an hour to Sedona to babysit for 10 hours, drive home, go to the store for the best grain free pizza crust because dinner is not being made tonight, also make emergency brownies and eat half the batter raw, from my fingers, with my pants unbuttoned

Friday: take a test for pathology, write a clinical journal, fill out patient information for SimChart, read, babysit for 6 hours, babysit for another 4 hours

Saturday: read, do breathing patterns case study, work for 4 hours (seems like such a short shift!), and prepare to start a whole other week

Within all of these places I have to be, I also cook 99% of the food we eat (with Vince's help! he's not a total dud of a husband) that is almost always real, whole foods that is mostly paleo, read books for leisure, work out, do yoga, paint my nails (clear, because we can't wear colors and it's such a waste of time but whatever), cuddle with my dog, 'decorate' my house, hangout with friends, spend time with my husband, have a decently clean bathroom, and get 7-9 hours of sleep.

Every time I talk to my grandpa he asks, 'So how long can you keep this up for?' and I always laugh, but then get nervous in the back of my mind. I feel sane and I don't feel completely stressed out, but I am definitely looking forward to graduating in a couple years. Then when I'm a nurse I'll only work three days a week and I'll have to take up a million hobbies to fill my time with. Or have a million babies. Either way.

Also, if it seems like I'm complaining, it's my blog so shut up. Also, here are some random instagram pictures since I haven't been posting any on my blog recently. Actually, never mind I'm too lazy to download them so you can just go look at them on my instagram @iffyinklings.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Limiting Electronics

This semester I have had a lot of down time. In previous semesters I have always worked a ton, was in class 4-5 days a week, and overcommitted myself. Honestly, a hectic and crazy life is when I thrive the most! This semester, because it was the start of the big scary nursing program, I cut waaaaaay back. I'm still somehow finding myself working between 20-30 (and sometime 50+ and sometimes 0) hours a week between my regular job and all the families I nanny for, but it's work I enjoy so it doesn't seem like work. (Barf. Anyways.) On top of that, I only have classes two days a week, one four hour day and one ten hour day. I also have been purposefully not committing to a lot of things, trying to keep my stress level down. And honestly, my stress level HAS been way down! But I also find myself getting bored.

Between being prescribed a way too high dose of hyperthyroid meds that sent me into being hypothyroid and thus EXHAUSTED all the time, and not actually needing to do anything at a specific time, the past few weeks (dare I say months?) I have been getting sucked into the internet and Netflix. And once I fall down that dark whole it's sooooo hard to crawl out of it!

Structure is extremely important for me to be functional, as is having a purpose. So to have five days free every week (theoretically) makes me feel like I have no purpose. Of course I could be studying, but honestly how much studying can one do? And it is so easy to get caught in the trap of, 'Oh, I'll just study later, after this. Actually, it can just wait until tomorrow since I have nothing else to do then!' When I am busy I feel the time crunch and know I have to do something right then, because I will have no time later. So at the moment I am stuck in the perpetual, 'I'll have time later!' thought process.

Somehow this whole situation has not affected my schoolwork, thankfully, but it just makes me feel like a giant turd. I do have things to get done around the house, projects that need finishing, laundry to be cleaned, but have been so unmotivated to do it. So to remedy that, I'm trying to create a schedule for myself. It is waaaaay past due considering this semester is over halfway over, but whatever. Here are some ideas I've proposed to myself:

Limit laptop use that is not related to homework to 30 minutes per day. I will happily sit on my couch with my laptop and waste the day away, but chances are I would never do that at my desktop because the chair is not that comfortable. I can, however, do homework on it, because again, I'm not very likely to sit at the desktop for a long period of time.

Only check Facebook twice a day with a maximum of 15 minutes total. It is sooooo easy to get caught up with Facebook and every time I check it I'm always thinking, 'WHY AM I DOING THIS?! I don't care about 90% of the shit I just read!' I've already had it deleted from my phone for a while, so now I'm going to wean myself away bit by bit.

Only check Instagram twice a day with a maximum of 10 minutes total. I feel like I should also limit how many times I post a picture? I usually limit myself to one a day, though, so I don't think it'll be a problem. Anyways, it's such a handy thing to entertain myself with pretty much anytime I don't have something to do for longer then 0.5 seconds (think in line at the grocery store, while waiting for a meeting, before class, during breaks, etc) and it's not something I need to be doing.

No TV during the day from Monday-Thursday. Vince and I wind down together with the TV at night, but I have no reason to watch it during the day. Vince is at work those days so I can use this time to do homework, go to class, clean, craft, read, work out, cook, etc. Hopefully this means I can get most of my schoolwork done during the week so that weekends are free. (Though I still have to work.)

No electronic on Saturdays. I talked to Vince about this and though it took convincing, he is on board with me! I think this will be extremely beneficial to us because as with all electronics, it's so easy to always be on our phones, or watching TV 'together' or surfing the internet. So to have a whole day to reconnect every week will be great, and with summer coming it'll be a perfect day to plan day trips and be outside. Granted, we are already outside a lot anyways, but now Vince won't have to be annoyed with, 'Hold on, I want to take a picture of this!'

Do not work on homework when Vince is home. There are so many nights where I'm in another room getting a quiz finished late into the evening after Vince is home from work, when I'd rather be spending time making dinner with him. I have no excuse for not getting it done earlier in the day.

I'm hoping that by instilling these 'rules' for myself I'll be able to find some inspiration within my days to do useful things around the house. I guess now that I type everything up it's not really a schedule for my day, but in a way it is because it will force me to actually do stuff during the day instead of sit on the computer or watch streaming shows. I'm going to make up a little sign to tape on my TV/laptop and I'll let you know how it works!

Friday, March 14, 2014

A little word vomit for you.

So I'm just going to start typing and hope I word vomit all over the place for your entertainment. I feel like I haven't posted in a long time and even Vince mentioned how long it's been when he went to check my blog last night. If your husband is telling you your posts are few and far between, you know you need to write. But alas, I do not know what to write about.

I guess I can start with the biggest part of my life: the nursing program! I feel like I'm jinxing myself by saying this, but it seems to be way easier than everyone told me it would be. I expected to be doing homework every night and to never have time to hang out with Vince, but that hasn't been the case! I know it's only my first semester and I've heard the second is the hardest by far, but still. I expected tears by now and I've hardly even been stressed.

Last semester was a very pivotal turning point in The Mind of Steffani in the sense that I totally chilled out. My microbiology lecture was kicking my ass hardcore in the beginning and I for sure thought I was going to end up with the C in the class and would not be able to get into the nursing program. After stressing about it for a few weeks and talking with my teacher who recommended I 'chill the hell out' and that passing is passing, I stopped caring! Well, I stopped caring in the sense that I didn't need to get a perfect grade and that as long as I passed, I wouldn't care.

After not doing as well as I wanted on my first two test (well, I got a low B and a mid B which isn't bad at all, but I considered it to be at the time) and talking to my teacher (see above paragraph) I re-evaluated what I was doing. What was I doing that was helping, and what was I doing that wasn't? I noticed that I would take a lot of notes throughout lecture, almost everything he said, and that I wasn't actually listening. So I stopped taking notes! The first half of the semester I took about 5-10 pages (front and back) of notes and the second half I took NONE. Not a single note. I had a friend who sat behind me in class who actually asked me if everything was ok because I was just sitting there! I also noticed that doing physical activities like riding my bike and working out helped me relax, so I did more of that.

Going into the third test I was like, WHAT WAS I THINKING OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO FAIL AND HAVE TO TELL EVERYONE THAT MY ACCEPTANCE TO THE NURSING PROGRAM WAS RESCINDED ALL BECAUSE I WANTED TO RIDE MY BIKE. But guess what? I got a fucking A that I previously thought was unattainable. (I can't stress how hard this class was. On our first test we had like five As out of almost 200 students, and that was with him giving us 6 or 8 extra points.)

After that third test I continued not taking notes, took my final, and ended up getting a 98% in the class. Yes, that is almost equal to 100%. In microbiology class, which is known as the 'make it or break it' class for all medical/science majors. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked.

So bringing that knowledge of 'chill the hell out' into the nursing program has been beneficial to me. I feel like I absorb so much more information when I'm relaxed and just sitting there listing to what the teacher is actually saying. Going into my first big test for the program I was somewhat nervous, but at the same time I had this calmness about me knowing that I didn't need an A. An A would be fantastic and that is ideally what I wanted, but if I didn't end up with one (which is so much harder to do in the nursing program because 93+ is an A, instead of 90+) it wouldn't be the end of the world.

As luck would have it (or reading 18 chapters and doing hundreds of NCLEX review question would have it) all of these little changes have been beneficial as I was one of very few who got an A on the first test! And no only that, but I feel confident in what I've been learning, as if I actually understand everything. (i.e., I'm not BSing myself into an A) Needless to say, I was excited, and really think that without my realization last semester, I wouldn't have gotten such a good grade.

I guess I wrote this post to tell everyone to chill out. Go take your dog on a walk. Climb a mountain. Read a John Grisham novel. Watch an entire season on Netflix in one day. Just chill out and don't feel guilty for not spending every waking moment studying! And lastly, even if you don't get an A, grades aren't everything. I know I won't get an A on every exam I have. I do not think people who have good grades are always smarter than someone who fails. Some people are better at taking tests, some people just don't want to apply themselves to a test but know all the information, and sometimes tests are just hard no matter how much you studied. In ten years I can promise that the A I got on my test will mean nothing to me, but the hours I'm able to spend outside camping and going on trips with my husband will mean a lot more.

So there you have it. Word vomit that was somewhat purposeful. A little. Now I'm off to study. ;)