Bad Grades

I’m not failing any of my classes, but for the first time in my life, I’m not excelling in them either. It feels like shit.

I have C’s in most of my classes right now. Yesterday, I wrote about how exhausted I was. Part of that exhaustion comes from the fact that I am putting in 110% to these classes and I am barely passing them.

Sometimes I wonder if our professors are setting us up for failure. All I hear about is how freshmen are not expected to get good grades. The exams and quizzes are not relevant to the content we are learning. I’m so tired of studying and reading exhausting academic papers that are so dense and filled with unnecessary words.

It’s hard not to feel like an idiot in this environment. When I question every day why I am studying, why I am working so hard, why I am putting my sanity on the line for teachers who don’t seem to care if I fail or not. I’m paying out the ass for this school and being told that I should be grateful towards McGill as well.

Bad grades are hard to deal with. Being screwed out of thousands of dollars and being told to say “thank you” is a recipe for a breakdown.

Eloragh

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Take it Day by Day

Exhaustion is a tricky beast. Some days, you’re fine, you can get through twelve hours without much trouble. Other days, you’re better than fine. You can do so much within the time the sun rises to the time it sets, you wonder why you don’t do that much every day. Those weird days though, those are the ones that get me.

I’ve been hit with exhaustion every day for the past week. After going to AynRandCon, coming back and learning I had two exams, a paper, and a film analysis due within a week was like being smacked in the face by five different hands. I’m so tired.

Just writing this blog is taking an immense amount of energy. It frustrates me that I can’t write about more sophisticated, interesting topics that truly challenge my skills as a writer, but I have to acknowledge that this time is hard for me.

My boyfriend reminds me to take it day by day. I know I can’t do anything to get out of my situation right now that wouldn’t jeopardize my ability to come back if I wanted to. I need to be patient, keep giving it a chance, and then decide what I want to do at the end of the year.

Finals are coming up. It feels like midterms just ended. I’m more tired than I have ever been.

Eloragh

The Value of Being Purely Exhausted

After my weekend at the conference, I am beat. I have not been as tired as I am right now since I first came to Montreal a few months ago. I got in late last night and didn’t get to bed until 1am this morning. I woke up at 8 so I could buy myself breakfast because I haven’t been able to go grocery shopping in two weeks.

But I did it. I did everything I needed to do today. I went to every single class, sent out a proposition to a job that I have been interested in for a long time, and managed to visit a professor (which is a lot harder than it may seem. I cleaned out my fridge, explained to my roommates why I was gone all weekend, and spent the evening with my dad. I have to give myself some credit.

Sometimes exhaustion feels good. It feels earned and welcomed. There are days when it is so much better to be unimaginably tired by the evening than it is to feel as though you didn’t get enough done.

Eloragh

Take Advantage of Willpower

When I was trying to get healthier physically, I was always reminded that habits have the advantage over willpower. I always disliked this idea because it seemed to be that the two forces go hand in hand. To develop healthy habits, it took a lot of willpower to start eating better, exercising, and taking care of myself mentally. It was a lot of work for it to become routine, but once it did, it was hard to shake.

A friend of mine told me recently that she scheduled all of her classes in the morning because she wanted to get her day started early and if she had all afternoon classes she would just sleep in. Although I understood what she meant, I wanted to tell her that it was totally possible, and probably more sustainable in the long run, if she just exercised some willpower for a few weeks until waking up earlier became a habit.

I’ve always been a night owl and an early bird, so it’s important to me that I find a way to get 8 hours of sleep while still being able to stay up later but wake up before noon. When I was in high school, I had the worst trouble getting up the morning. Part of that struggle definitely came from the fact that I wasn’t motivated to get to school because I didn’t enjoy my experience there, but most of the problem was exhaustion.

Despite understanding the science of why teenagers need a lot of sleep, I still had to find a way to get up earlier and have more energy. My exhausted state was no longer becoming sustainable and I knew it was important for me to focus on schoolwork at the time I was dealing with this. So, I took advantage of my willpower. I forced myself to make certain habits for two to four weeks. If they hadn’t stuck or, at the very least, weren’t easier by that time, I could drop them. Most of the habits not only stuck, but I found myself looking forward to acting on them.

Willpower, in my opinion, is underutilized and underappreciated. There is so much power in being so motivated and excited about the possibility of the future that you can force yourself through the difficult times. If they continue to be difficult for too long, then you’ll know that those habits were not for you. While habits may be more sustainable in the long term, willpower is an excellent way to take advantage of the initial motivation and excitement that comes with starting a new phase in life.

Eloragh

Exhaust Yourself

Lately, I found that I have to exhaust myself to be able to sleep at night. I took about a 2-month break from ballet and exercising in general, but it’s time to get started again. Although my time off was beneficial for my mind and body, it’s become more of a drain as time has gone on. My body needs to be physically exhausted for me to sleep well, function properly the next day, and process my energy intake properly.

There is value to exhausting yourself. I believe that we aren’t really meant to sleep when we still have the capacity to go. The feeling of sore muscles and nothing left to give is the feeling that makes me enjoy going to bed at night. It gives me an idea of how hard I worked that day. I may mentally exhaust myself, but if I don’t do the same physically, the imbalance of forces will inevitably be noticeable in my everyday life.

The trick is to find something that makes you want to exhaust yourself. For me, it will always be ballet, but recently it’s also been cycling and pilates. It’s been exploring Montreal by foot. It’s been walking up and down my university campus until my calves are screaming at me to rest. If you don’t enjoy how you tire yourself out, then you will always be focused on the fact that you’re just trying to exhaust yourself.

Eloragh

p.s. I fell down twice going up the escalator in my metro station after ballet class last night. There is also value in knowing when to stop. Happy Humpday.

 

Deficit

My health has always been a source of anxiety for me. I’ve been overweight, underweight, all over the scale, but never intentionally. For most of my life, I ate intuitively. That is to say, when I was hungry, I ate, and when I wasn’t, I didn’t. I’m fairly sure almost everyone operates off of this system to some degree or another. However, when my health became a primary concern, I started counting calories and macros to give myself a better idea of how much I should be eating and where my energy should come from.

I haven’t tracked my food intake in roughly a year. Similarly to many people who follow their food for any period, I became a bit too involved in it and had to call it quits. I did gather a good amount of data on how I eat and how to optimize my intake before my control began to falter. Ever since then, I’ve maintained a healthy weight and continued my routine and diet.

When I stopped eating meat in October, I had to readjust to make sure I was still getting adequate amounts of protein and calories. I started eating more calorie dense foods such as peanut butter, frozen meals, and energy bars to make up the intake lost by leaving meat behind. I quickly learned that the energy held in these dense foods made it easy for me to get my calories without spending a half an hour eating. I restructured my diet to be calorically dense during the week and calorically spread out during the weekend to maximize efficiency and socialization.

Ballet changed that. I’m almost done with my four week intensive in Montreal, and I haven’t quite felt myself during it. I’ve been irritable, irrational, upset, lethargic, and not performing well. Yesterday, I tried on a pair of my shorts to find that they no longer fit. I was pretty upset; I hadn’t changed my diet that much, I had been working out more than usual, and I was walking everywhere. I decided to call it a night, not wanting to dwell on the knowledge that I had gained weight.

This morning I woke up early and realized I had no coffee in my apartment. I went to a nearby cafe and, essentially, said fuck it and bought a chocolate croissant and a vanilla latte. I don’t eat much sugar, but this morning I was hungry and unhappy about my experience during the previous night. Low and behold, my energy levels were significantly better today. I was able to focus better than I had since the first day of the intensive. I often talk to loved ones about the importance of blood sugar and keeping it stable to maintain my sanity, but I hadn’t thought much about it during this intensive.  It still didn’t add up though – I realized that I hadn’t been eating enough to make up for all of my lost energy, but why didn’t my shorts fit?

The reality is, I have gained weight. However, that weight is primarily lean muscle. I was not eating enough, that I know for sure, and it was causing a lot of fatigue because what I was eating was being directed towards my exhausted muscles. So, my shorts don’t fit because I’ve lost fat and gained an inch of muscle because of my excess rotation during the day.

What did I learn? Well, I discovered the same thing that I learned from my intensive last year – weight fluctuates. I gained ten pounds when I went to CPYB last summer, but most of my clothes still fit when I went home. Everything I own except that one pair of shorts still fit well. I’m not willing to sacrifice all of the efforts I have put into this intensive because it’s causing my body to change. I came to Montreal because I want my body to change. I want it to become stronger and more flexible and capable of enduring six hours of dancing every day. If that means I lose a pair of shorts for the time, so be it.

When I find myself focusing on how much my body has reacted to this experience, I try to remember that there are many more ways to measure my success. I can lift my leg higher, I can hold my rotation better during difficult exercises, and I feel stronger than I did before I came to Montreal. Life is often about aesthetics, but health cannot be sacrificed for them.

Eloragh

Energy

Sometimes I wonder how my energy levels are doing. My gauge is strange, I can only recognize when it is at one extreme or another. I’m aware of my hyper-energetic state and my fatigued state.

Today, I woke up with a lot of energy. I was ready to do some work, run some errands, and enjoy my city. I was so happy to finally be in Montreal, I wanted nothing more than to ride the subway and sit down at a cafe on Le Plateau.

I did all of those things. The metro quickly lost it’s charm after four different people sneezed in my general vicinity on the same train. The cafe at Le Plateau was terrific, but my father was not enjoying it. I started to wonder if I would be better as a solo traveler, but that is another blog for another day.

Anyway, we picked up some Bixi bikes after brunch. Bixi bikes are rentable bikes with docks all around Montreal, they’re quite convenient but can be a pain in the ass to return. The docks aren’t too spread out, but they can fill up quickly. My father is also averse to listening to me or letting me take the lead in finding a place, so we ended up taking way more time than needed due to his lack of ability to follow a map.

My energy waned towards 4 or 5 o’clock. We hopped back on the metro but stopped at Berri-UQAM (the massive station that connects three different lines) to see if we couldn’t get my student metro card set up. We ended up leaving the station and walking an extra four blocks to find the right metro office, only to be told that I have to wait until August 1st because I’m not a summer student. My lack of energy then turned to anger which my poor father had to suffer from.

I should probably apologize to him. Although we both messed up in different ways today, I definitely overreacted a few times. But this type of behavior is standard coming from me when I am low on steam. I tend to get irritable, frustrated, and sometimes irrationally angry. It makes matters even worse when I can’t get any privacy to chill out.

Living in Montreal will be a new experience and will most definitely test my energy levels. Walking everywhere, dealing with people all day long, and navigating public transportation will force me to adjust and possibly increase how much bullshit I can deal with.

It’s worth it though. This city is amazing. If you ever stop by, please go to Le Plateau Mont-Royal.

Eloragh