How fast time travels when we’re having fun, right?
So far most of the year has gone by in but two days of recollection–the ups and downs and loves lost and found and lost again, the trials and triumphs of dire courses and cross-country adventures, the happiness of new friends and the sorrow being away from friends inflicts every day. And yet, the year is not over.
After the semester began in August, September could only bring new things to the table. Things were great in September: Being a tutor in the math lab was awesome. It wasn’t ever incredibly busy, so I was able to work on my calculus and more importantly my physics work with my classmates–and trust me, there is nothing cooler than working massive physics problems with diagrams and formulas that fill the entire whiteboard! That was intense.
And incredibly satisfying.
Calculus was going well. I was pleased. A little intimidated by my teacher’s lack of assigning homework (for homework provides a much-needed incentive to keep what we learned in class fresh in the mind outside of it), but for the most part I could understand what we were doing, and repeat it mostly well myself, so that was alright. Physics was the much more daunting class: Twenty chapters in sixteen weeks may seem impossible, but that was what we had set out to do. I was terrified–and all my prior excitement was soon replaced with fear. Vectors and mechanics–the two things I despised most about physics–the only two things I ever hated about physics–were what we were learning.
I also had clubs to pay special attention to. Phi Theta Kappa was fairly straightforward, only being Recording Secretary and all (although, later in the semester, I would find even keeping up with that a trying task), but the Gay-Straight Alliance took much more of my time (the Creative Writers Club met while I was in the Math Lab, so I could no longer attend it). I spent hours on our Clubs Fair poster of well-known GLBT men and women that most people didn’t know were GLB or T–and it was a success! I remember one woman looking at me and saying (about David Bromstad) “He’s too fine to be gay!” And I cannot count how many hearts were broken when people learned that not only is Neil Patrick Harris gay, he also has a partner, and also has children. (That mine might have been among them is a small point to be overlooked.)
In October there was much of the same, but now there were plans for Halloween to think of, and that is always so much fun. (Sarcasm, if not quite detectable.) Classes began getting more intense, of course, and even computer programming was beginning to take more of my time: I had my first project to work on, a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. And trust me–I excelled! I even animated it, boo-yah. Not to mention, I frequently wrote small programs to do all the menial calculations I had to do for my physics labs, which saved me hours of individual computations.
NaNoWriMo was right around the corner, which also meant planning–since I am the Municipal Liaison (a very fancy phrase for “Regional Coordinator”) for one of our regions here in NC. Luckily, on this front I was assisted by our lovely unofficial honorary ML, whose help was pivotal in making our region so tremendously successful this year.
Do you by chance remember the SLI? Part of being an SLI student is putting on two workshops during the year-long event (you thought it was only a week, didn’t you? Well, ha! It lasts all year!). So I was beginning to think I wouldn’t get mine done… But then in a matter of two weeks, I did both! The first was one of our two Phi Theta Kappa new member orientation sessions. I did the second one, so I was able to observe what questions were asked during the first one and then adapt mine to address all of those concerns. I got very few questions in response, so I suppose I did alright…?
The second was the very same workshop I had worked on with my buddies at our week-long session in June, and that was such an honor to put together! I presented it at GTCC’s Leadership Retreat, and it was a success! A lot of people gave me great feedback for it, and I was so happy it went well. Not to mention incredibly relieved!
Then–dun dun DUNN!–November came. This meant write-ins, tests, and 80,000 words–my personal goal for this year’s NaNoWriMo. This also meant the fall mini-session for the SLI, which itself was pretty awesome. Old friends felt like family when we all got back together–not to mention the surprise projects we all had to work on. It was intense, but we all pulled together and did exceptional work. It was so much fun. It felt like being home again.
Of course, between the Leadership Retreat and the mini-session, and all my time now dedicated to NaNoWriMo, I quickly began to fall behind in my homework. Almost all of my small programs were turned in on the last day, and I seriously had to get extensions on all of my physics homework, which I could barely keep up with how far behind I had become. So far behind was I that on our fourth test, I got the lowest test grade I have ever gotten in college. Not to mention all the cramming I had to put in for my calculus quizzes and tests, and did I mention the Math Lab? Sure, it was all nice and calm at the beginning, but now everyone needed help–and I could no longer get a bit of my work done while I was there. I was moving nonstop, from geometry to algebra to calculus and back again. I even had to help people with statistics–and did you know, statistics is a completely different field of math than calculus?
Then came the last day of November. I wrote my eighty-thousandth word and was done. I was victorious.
Then the rest of life swept me away into the tumult of December: Finals and the Winter Walk for AIDS (did I not mention, during November, we had to do our planning for World AIDS Day on December first, too?).
The calm of being freed from compulsory writing was quickly overtaken by more SOAR, more tests, a rush to complete all my homework, and a need to study for more finals than I had cared to take at the moment. It was chaotic. I’m not quite sure how I survived it all, but somehow I managed. I’m still stunned in light of that fact. Even with my yoga class, this semester was the most stressful, most overworked, most relentless semester I have ever had in college.
Once the semester was over, my hopes of freedom were wrecked.
I still had work to plan for (which now that I could actually plan for, I loved dearly), and I had months of built-up cleaning to take care of. My one saving grace was the gift my sister had gotten me for Chanukah: The Complete Book One Collection of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It is my favorite show in all the world and it is the best show in all the world. I watched each and every one of the twenty episodes from the first season, including all the bonus features (including the commentaries). It was through that alone that my peace was salvaged.
Then came the realisation that I’d started a Reader’s Challenge to read thirty books in 2010 (20 + 10 = 30, after all)–and I hadn’t even read twenty yet! So I read through as many books as I could: The Lightning Thief, An Underground Life, The Sea of Monsters, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and a few others…. But on the very last day of December, so fervently plowing ahead, I got sick and stayed in bed all day, barely reading a thing. I ended at twenty-eight books, but I had done everything I could. And with how busy my year had been, I definitely don’t regret not making it.
Not to mention, as I read all that, I wrote tremendous amounts, nearly completing a story I’ve been writing for the past two years (which I then finished the day before last!), not to mention I spent more time playing games online and relaxing than I feel like I have in ages.
This truly was a great year, and yet I still see much room for growth and much room for improvement. But all of that, I suppose, is a topic best left for the day after the end of this series of reflections.