Tuesday, August 11, 2015


A long time ago, an aunt of mine shared an article on facebook. I don't remember exactly what the title was, but I do remember that the jist of the article was about "don't do so much! Slow down and enjoy life!" I remember feeling incredibly bitter about that. How in the fuck, I thought, am I supposed to slow down and yet compete with everyone my age for the same scholarships and jobs??

Of course, the article's intended audience was obviously people around my aunt's age: people who have already done any post-secondary they might intend to do, people who are no longer young, people who have had kids and gotten married and worked for quite a while. You know, like, real adults. People with established careers and nice houses and cars, shit like that. I am not one of those people, obviously.

A lot of my insecurity about the stuff in the last post revolves around this. I'm happy not doing a lot, for the most part. I feel like I ought to be more well-rounded, but a lot of the worry there comes from the fact that I'm painfully aware of how well other people my own age are doing. This, coupled with the fact that I've always felt like I'm in the bottom of the top of the heap, gives me quite a bit of anxiety. I've never had a leadership position in my life. I'm not one of those kids who gets Really Good Holy Shit Amazing grades (and I get pissed whenever a character in a book that is depicted as Smart has a 4.0, because I know literally nobody with a 4.0 (or if they have one, they're not telling me)), I'm just one of those kids who gets Grades That Are Good. Like, my GPA isn't bad, but I'm always so aware of the fact that it could be better by it being LITERALLY 0.1 BELOW WHAT I'D NEED TO GET ON THE HONOR ROLL (I am so mad about this, in case you couldn't tell). I have some volunteer experience, but I'm always aware of the fact that I could have more (and the bulk of mine is from high school, anyway).

The other issue is that I tend to befriend people and like people who, at least in my eyes, can successfully do this- volunteer in things, get actually really good grades, maintain a group of friends. Win scholarships. That sort of shit. Some of them excel in certain categories more than others, but that's just the thing: they excel. I've never really felt like I excelled at anything. The only time I remember being the best was in 7th grade when the unofficial class appointed #1 smart kid left for four months, and I, as the unofficial class appointed #2 smart kid, became #1 for a brief and glorious period of time. I was never the best at piano. I was never the best at dance. I was never the best at writing (though, I suppose, I was the most prolific of anyone I knew for quite some time).

I still feel that way, that I'm this weird kind of Good Mediocre, that I'm doing okay, but I could still be doing better. And I feel that I can't just sit there, complacent, and accept that I'll probably get somewhere being Good Mediocre, because I feel like- and this is compounded by the fact that I attend a large university- there are literally hundreds of thousands of my peers who are competing for the same stuff I am. I know that's not quite accurate; my university isn't that big, nor is my faculty (though it is the biggest), nor is my specialty, nor is the group of people interested in my field of interest (medical research, at the moment). But there are still other kids out there, and they are studying harder and volunteering more and winning more awards than I am, and they are always out there.

I know I should strive to do better, all that, but honestly, sometimes I feel like I'm already doing as much as I can reasonably expect of myself, and other times I look at the amount of effort other kids put into assignments I decided were not worth that much stress, and I think there's your problem. While other kids are doing shit like going to the prof and the TAs and spending hours working over some god-awful what-the-fuck-is-this genetics problem set, I said "this is worth 5% of my grade and my biochem midterm next week is worth 40%" (and yet I still did not study hard enough for that biochem midterm) and consequently put in about 8 times less effort into the problem set. Unless those kids are lying (which, if you are, literally go fuck yourselves I hate you), it feels like I'm not doing enough. Constantly. Which is annoying, because I know how to fix some of those problems, but not all of them, and all of it stresses me out probably more than the aspect of getting a degree and having to venture off into the real world.

Then, I think, there are still heaps of students who say things like "I don't feel like going to class today, let's go get lattes" or who sit in class and look at tumblr and facebook and youtube instead of paying attention. I am definitely doing better than those kids: I save my tumblr and facebook and youtube for when I'm at home and supposed to be reading some stupidly boring chapter in my chemistry textbook (guess what, I barely did any of the reading for all 4 chem courses, and I've passed them all with varying kinds of Bs), or for after the hour of 8 (or 9, or even 10, depending on the point of the semester) when I know I'm not productive anymore and can't get anything done. But I don't really care about those kids. They're not even good competition.

And in that, I think- maybe those kids who are trying that hard are good to have around, because they make me try harder. Wouldn't I just get lazy if I knew I was already at the top? Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe I should just accept that I'm not the best- certainly not at everything, maybe not at anything right now. I'm still good enough to get a few awards, I still push myself enough to participate in a few things outside of class, I still have a pretty decent social circle. And maybe, because it's August and this is probably one of the last summers of my life during which I get to be this lazy, I should go and watch TV with my sister.

yer pal,

Thursday, August 6, 2015


I seriously, seriously have no life.

This is what I realized the other day, sitting with friends in Dairy Queen, discussing various things. I hadn't seen any of them in a month, which was awful, but I did see them then. Omnia and I (and omnia, this is not meant to reflect on you in any way, since I still don't know what you do with the rest of your time, it was just this one bit of conversation that led to me realizing stuff about myself) started up about stuff on the internet, and I realized that's kind of all I've been up to. For a whole entire month.

Sure, I complain all I want about how boring it is to sit in with my parents night after night (especially without Freckles there, god it was awful) but I never actually do anything about it. I mean, not that there's much to do here, but I could still fucking try a little harder. I didn't have any life stories to recount, unless one counted my fainting spell that eventually led to the doctor telling me I probably have vertigo, or the time I went for a bike ride for two hours. I'm just a real shut in.

I'm starting to wonder if that's necessarily a bad thing. I mean, yes, I'm young, I should try to go out and do things, but at the end of the day I still always need an hour or so to myself, where I might talk to people, but always via text- like, actual texting, or skype, or whatever. My mom zones out in TV all the time to escape the stress of her job, I zone out in the internet.

I used to zone out in writing, but that's so much work. I mean, I still write, yes, but it's always introspective non fiction stuff like this, now. Maybe that's not the worst thing ever, but I don't know how to get back to fiction, and I'm starting to think maybe I won't. At least, not now. I don't know. I like writing this way. Maybe once I stop being a self-centered young adult (like we all are, trying to find ourselves and all that shit), my writing will shift again, but for the time being it helps me figure things out.

Anyway... I mean, I know I need to see my friends more than once a fucking month, and I need to stop with the leaving early because I don't want to wake my parents up, because I'm starting to think they don't care. And I know it sounds like a flimsy excuse and that I'm full of shit, but I do want to stay later. I always do (though the last night I tried to stay out was the day before Freckles left early in the morning, and like hell I was missing her send-off). Want that, I mean.

I'm just sort of worried this will make other people think less of me. Like, I'm not interesting. I'm a really boring person. I suppose I can be chatted with easily enough, I've got an arsenal of opinions, and I have some experiences (some of which I was lucky to be able to have), so it's not like I think I actively bore people, it's just... I keep searching for something by which to define myself, and coming up with nothing. Writer? Not really. Dancer? Not anymore. Volunteer? Rarely. Member of any sort of group? Not since I quit EPASS. So what do I do? Internet. And this. And I watch a lot of netflix. God, like, do you see what I mean? I don't do shit. That bothers me, about myself, and I don't know how to change it.

I suppose some people could just go out and try on labels like new clothes, seeing which ones fit and which ones don't. The problem with that is that I'm stupidly shy around new people, completely afraid of trying anything that requires doing anything I'm not 100% sure how to do by myself (and being responsible for it), and despite my loyal-to-a-fault nature, I have trouble sticking with things when I don't really genuinely like them. Plus, I never want to spend money. Like, on anything. I always feel like I'm wasting it unless it's a necessity or something for someone else (and even then...). I'm not just frugal, I'm a fucking cheapskate, and honestly, I'm not sure how to fix that one.

But it's just like... Is this really a problem? So what I don't go out all the time? I mean, I'd like to see friends more just because friends, and I know that school now wants you to be involved in stuff in addition to doing well in school (and I have a whole swack of other insecurities about the fact that I still feel like the bottom of the Smart Kids, if that makes any sense)... so maybe it is a problem? I don't know.

My least favourite feeling is when I have to tackle a problem and I have absolutely zero idea how to go about it. It's even worse when I don't understand what the problem is (hello, Chem 102 problem sets!). This time, I suppose I get it, and I do have a couple ideas that might be enough... but, like, I keep feeling like I should be "developing leadership qualities" or something. Does anybody else get that? I can't possibly be the only one. Not because I have some inner need to be a leader but because I just get the feeling that that's what people want to see, that's what people expect from me? For christ's sake, I got put in my school district's weird "leadership-seminar-help-us-improve-the-district" thing, and I still have no idea why. Like, oh, I don't volunteer enough to get asked to go to We Day, but you're going to send me to do this thing...? Okay..??? I probably have a certificate for that somewhere, actually. I should brag about it more. Do you see what I mean. Leadership skills. Why is this such a bother to me.

I suppose the one thing I do have going well for me that I should cling to is Lab Stuff. My... boss? supervisor? I dunno- anyway, she said to me at our end-of-work-for-the-summer (yes, I get to take August off, lucky me) meeting that they'd love to have me back next year (for a fifth summer? uhhhh... not that I hate the work, but I feel like I need to work somewhere else) because I do good work, and that my confidence really improved this summer, which was probably the result of my lab partner who did not know how to do anything (it was her first time) following me around and me having to teach her. Apparently I also have more than one person who can write me reference letters now, though, so... yay!

But... academically, I'm doing fine, I guess, and it seems I already have at least one offer of employment for next summer, which is a good thing and something I feel very lucky about (though I know that I shouldn't entirely feel lucky since it was my dedication and hard work that got me that, luck just got me the opportunity to try). It's just that I'm still a horribly boring person who contributes nothing to the world and has like -1 hobbies. What's so great about me if all I do is homework and real work? Like... god, this is the IB talking, isn't it, this desire to feel well rounded. Too bad the IB was what rid me of the ability to actually try (though without having it forced on me I probably would have just spent more time on the internet in high school so I'm more to blame).

This is- sidenote- also why it bugs me that people seem to think that young women are all like the young women in romantic comedies, only concerned about how lonely they are (despite the fact that they have lots of friends...) and how empty their lives are without that Special Someone (despite the fact that they all have jobs and hobbies and shit) and I love me a romantic comedy, don't get me wrong, and it's not like I don't have my fair share of romance at the moment, but like... I can think about starting a new relationship and I can have an identity crisis and still be excelling at school (kinda) and work (definitely) all at the same time! Because I am a person who is real and that means I can be and think about and manage more than one thing at a time.

Unfortunately I cannot blog and have a facetime conversation with the most ridiculously adorable and wonderful boy I've ever met at the same time, so... this seems like as good a place as any to end.

yer pal,
swegan :)