Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: October Check-In

I can hardly believe the term is half over! Midterms this week and next, and a bit of melancholy about the time slipping away. Also struggling with motivation, and remembering why I don’t take many 300 level courses nowadays. It may seem contradictory, but the less challenging a course is the less motivation I can muster to study for it. I’m trying to make it easier to study, but I have trouble focusing in my room, and it’s hard to find a secure, comfortable spot to study: the chairs are really hard to sit in for long, and I can’t get up and go to the bathroom, etc., and leave my stuff out unless I’m studying in my room. This is an issue I’ve struggled with for a long time, though, and probably will keep struggling with for years to come. That’s life. I planned a couple pretty successful study groups with folks for the midterm I had this morning, and I think they really helped me and the other students out, so yay for that!

I’m feeling some anxiety about the university charges. The deadline to opt out of insurance for the term was Sunday, but it wouldn’t let me, and I’m thinking it’s because I’m not in the country right now, but it still makes me nervous about them charging me $900 I can’t afford right now. Additionally, my student account reflects that I paid my installment when it was due on Thursday, but it hasn’t come out of my bank account yet, and I hate when they do that. I get paranoid something else I forgot about will go through and then it will bounce or overdraw me and then the school will freak out. Poverty is basically the worst, and so stressful. On that note: I’m still raising funds (you can donate on Crowdrise) to cover the gap between my financial aid and my program costs (including food, toiletries, and $1,023 in tuition and fees). Please give and share, if you can.

The university here is very different than I’m used to. I’m struggling a bit to adjust, honestly, but there’s good and bad in it. Dance class is my favorite, and I really like my Twi instructor and my history professors, but some of my classes are causing a lot of difficulties for me. More on that in the review post, below the cut.

 


Goals:

  1. Build up my small press
  2. Consciously love and care for myself
  3. Continue learning and expanding my skill set

Month in Review:

What worked? What didn’t?
1) On hiatus.

2) I continue to be too much of a hermit. I’ve made friends with other international students, but I don’t really have any close Ghanaian friends. The people who sell food in the night market know me enough to recognize that I eat the same thing for dinner every night, I have a couple conversations everyday with the same women selling fruit in the market, and I have friendly conversations with some of the security guards here at the hostel. I also had a really fun, interesting conversation with the TA for my favorite history class, after our tutorial session last week. I asked him about his research, which is on a separatist Christian community in colonial Accra. He talked about that, and then we had a conversation on politics and American history and the university, and ended up talking for 3 hours, and I really enjoyed that.

I actually broke off a friendship with a guy who seemed to be ‘Nice Guy’ing me in the hopes that we might date, even after I had explicitly told him I wouldn’t date him and asked him to stop treating me like someone he was dating (texting me cutesy messages every morning, trying to get me to spend time with him every day when I told him I had to study). I had some really strong, important reasons that I am not going to date anyone here, and he brushed them off. I feel bad about it a little, but I also know that him ignoring my boundaries was going to cause a ton of anxiety and stress. (I talked it over with a bunch of other folks here, too. I think this connects to a larger rape culture context, where I can’t trust that my discomfort is based on anything ‘real’ unless other people confirm it for me. This is another area I’m working on improving.)

3) Struggling with motivation, as I mentioned earlier, and with my ability to skim, which is not a strong point of mine. I also have a final exam in Twi this week, and I am absolutely, totally, and entirely unprepared. I am not ready for this exam. It’s stressing me out pretty badly, honestly. I need to have an intense study session for the next few nights, I guess.

In 2 of my other classes the teaching style is really hampering my ability to engage. I love one of my history classes, but the other two are really not working for me. I need to sit down and go over the readings, but I just want to watch videos or talk to folks. Mid-semester slump is clearly an issue right now. I don’t know how to fix that, but I need to figure something out fast, because I have exams in those classes coming up!

Dance class is my favorite class, though. We’ve learned a couple dances already (bamaya and gahu), and we’re going into a new dance this week. No matter how stressed or tired or unhappy I am before dance class, I always come out of it feeling pumped up and grinning my head off. I get drum rhythms stuck in my head a lot, too! It’s a lot of fun. I’d forgotten how much I love dancing. It’s been amazing to connect back to my body and to be highly active without pain. I’ll miss this when I get back to the US.

Planning the Next Month:

What am I working on going forward?
1) On hiatus.

2) I just remembered that my therapist and I made goals for my time here. They were

  • Breathe
  • Get onto a schedule — meds, sleep, food
  • Remember that I need alone time (and set some aside)
  • Continue to advocate for myself

So those are the things I’m going to work on. They address some of my experience the last month, too. Good reminders. Also a good reminder? This “memory” Facebook prompted me to re-share:

Friends, just remember that you are beautiful, amazing, and worthy—not because of anything you do or don’t do, but because you exist. Keep sharing your stories and speaking your truth, and don’t forget that you have worth, and you matter.

3) I need to get in gear and study for the classes giving me trouble. I have resources saved in my Dropbox, and I need to comb through and find some study tactics to get me motivated. I’ve got gold stars for successes, and I have been using tools for prioritizing tasks, and getting and keeping focused. I just need to employ a couple fresh tactics and maybe an accountability buddy or two. I also might try and get another study group together this weekend. Having firm times I’m meeting, having other people around to keep me on task, and sharing study tools I’ve made can all help. Hopefully, I can get back on track this week without stressing myself out too much. I have to study for Twi and for the midterms in my other history classes, and I have a paper due for the required USAC class. Back to work…

 

 

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See all of the Groundhog Day Resolutions posts here.

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