Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Too Many Calendars!

Well I had my first baby breakdown...and yes, I have only had 1 class so far...and no, I don't even have any work due this week...so yes, I understand why this is a tad ridiculous and a terrible indication of what is to come. BUT, it was over calendars (sort of...among other things).

You see I am a creature of habit. While I may go back and forth between my apartment and my boyfriends, which creates a somewhat chaotic schedule, I always pack the same items and come on the same days and maintain the same general schedule at both "homes". So now that I have a new schedule (some days open during the day with class in the evening, some days working in the office for 10 hours, and some days a combination of both), I immediately felt anxious and stressed about not knowing my schedule for the week. Which days are best to stay at my boyfriends? Which workouts should I do based on scheduling and the closest gym? Which books and computer will I need? Luckily, after a week or two of classes/work and other activities, I should be able to loosely maintain a regular schedule.

Along the same lines as being a scheduled and habitual person...I was overwhelmed yesterday about which calendar to use for my assignments. Do I use a hard copy agenda book like in college? Do I use my iCal and list the homework assignments as "Reminders" or as events on the due date? Do I include my work tasks in my "Reminders". Again...I like habit and structure and having 85 calendars does not make this easy! Plus, I am weird and really like physically crossing things off of a to-do list. For now, I think I am going to go with iCal as reminders because that is backed up on my phone and the internet so I can access it anywhere.

You may be thinking that these are ridiculous things to have a breakdown over...and they are. But I think that I felt like I should be doing something, I FEEL like I SHOULD be overwhelmed, so I created chaos and stress where there really wasn't any. Healthy, right?? What I should have been doing was ENJOYING the lack of tasks because that will change soon!

And, in Erica fashion, I manifest my stress and perceived life chaos in my eating/exercising issues. So because I could not solve my scheduling and calendar woes yesterday, I decided to stress over feeling fat and if I had worked out enough that day. On the plus side (the only plus, really), I realize that I manifest my stress this way so I know that these aren't actual issues and am able to push them aside and acknowledge that they are just ways for me to avoid what is really bothering me and to control something when I feel somewhat out of control.

So my friends...that was my first emotional struggle. I am guessing this also had to do with hormones but I won't get into those details as I may have a few male readers out there who will be disturbed...and that may further the claims of women being totally irrational because of hormones. Luckily I have a good support network and was able to shed some cathartic tears and move on in life. Today I feel stronger and organized...and EXCITED for class!! But I wanted to share this story with you because I don't want to give off the impression that my life is perfect...this blog is about the good and the bad and all that is in between...but most importantly this blog is about learning from life and changing as I go.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And so it begins!!

Today is the first day of the semester at UMD, tomorrow is my first graduate class, tonight marks the end of my sanity…or not!

For the first semester I have decided to work part time and go to school full time (brief update- I am starting a PhD program at UMD). This decision has been frowned upon by a few but is also not completely uncommon..many people work and go to school full time (and some raise kids too!) because, let’s face it, life ain’t cheap! I am definitely scared but also very confident that I will survive (maybe exhausted, sleepless, and angry…but I will survive). So I have asked around for words of wisdom going into this crazy journey of becoming a doctor and here is what I have heard:

1. BALANCE- Maintain a work/life balance. Make sure to continue doing the things you enjoy and make time for them because they may be what keep you sane. For me, this includes my personal relationships and exercise. I really believe that my relationships will help me get through this stressful period (if I don’t go tooooooooo crazy haha). But in all honesty, the support I’ve been given gave me the courage to apply and accept and I have no doubt that that same support will make sure I don’t give up! And…yes, yes I know (everyone has told me...) it will be hard to maintain my current (mildly insane) workout routine with this work/school schedule and I AM (sort of) mentally prepared to cut back (a little...haha, noticing my hesitation?). But I also know how much these hobbies mean to me and how sane they keep me, and therefore will continue to make an effort to always make time for exercise (to the best of my mental and physical ability…).

2. PRIORITIZE- It was recommended to prioritize your work/school tasks. Then figure out which time of the day you work best and assign the most important tasks to that time. I work best in the morning hours and plan to schedule accordingly :)

3. SAY NO- I was told it was okay to say no (who knew!). So I hope to carry the confidence to say no to additional work/life/school tasks when I know I can’t handle it. I do not want anything to suffer because I have willingly taken on too much.

Now, one would hope that I am able to take my OWN advice, read through all these uplifting and motivational blogs I have written, and do what I tell others to do…but usually those that can’t do, teach ;) I will keep you all updated on my highs and lows throughout this experience and will hopefully be able to share words of wisdom (or “what not to dos”) for balancing life and taking on HUGE challenges. I have no doubt this will be the hardest thing I take on in my career, I am hopeful that it takes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to work on my weaknesses, and I..am…READY! Here’s to sleepless nights, brutal critiques, overload, exhaustion, knowledge, experience, networking, and GROWTH!