Wait what did you just say? Okay, okay, see I misplaced my masterplan courtesy of my attention span, but Imma be okay.

(Jamie Grace–With You)

In one of the books I have to read for one of my classes it mentioned that the character recognized the problem, remained calm, and solved the problem…I am not consistently good at a single part of that sequence…well, maybe recognizing the problem, I suppose in some ways I am good at that, but at the same time there is a reason my nickname in high school was “specs”…and it had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I wore glasses…and when there is a problem I frequently react first and ask questions later…and if I do recognize a problem and remain calm that doesn’t mean I have any semblance of resolution to the problem…I am your ‘yes’ girl. I am hilariously bad at saying no. Twice this week people have asked me if I ever say no and one of them was like let’s practice…she said “I want a cookie” I said “I want a cookie” She said “you’re not getting it, tell me no” and I said “but you want a cookie and I have two cookies left in my lunch box.” (etc)…I somehow managed to agree to drive someone to the store whom I had met about an hour or so earlier…as it turned out he went to his room to grab his wallet and came back and had determined he actually didn’t need anything, but yeah, this is probably why I yell at myself wondering what I was thinking third year when I seemingly chose to stay when it seems like why didn’t I RUN…I (and probably some of the people who know me well) know when my yes is really a yes and when it is more like I just can’t say no…there’s the hesitation, the determination, and then the people-pleasing (but possibly wishy-washy if I still think I might be able to change it later) yes…although I suppose some of the accidental yeses are actually because I will respond and say yes if I think that is what is expected of me even if I didn’t really hear or understand what it was that I was being asked. That sounds really bad, but if I am having a for real conversation I’ll usually actually get clarification if I don’t know what we’re talking about, but when someone asks me something as they walk by or other situations like that I figure if it is really important and/or if my response doesn’t make sense then they’ll stop long enough that I’ll know I need to revise my answer…

So anyway…that was not at all what I thought I was going to write about…also, I discovered that while I complain about other people being way off topic in group discussions that I am not always the best role model for group dynamics either, because I start talking about one thing, get halfway through the discussion then forget we are talking about that and start asking about something else sometimes completely unrelated…I try to stick to one thing, but sometimes people are going so slow on that one thing that I can’t help but move on to the next thing, but that isn’t very helpful…

Yesterday I had the thought “all I did is go eat a cupcake and now someone is dead. What did I do wrong?” Clearly, children dying of brain cancer is not my fault, but that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see immediately upon opening my computer to resume studying…and so I didn’t (Resume studying immediately that is…). Instead I wrote this:

Dead.

No longer living.

Passed to the other side.

Void of life.

Why?

I know that working in pediatric healthcare and even just being a living human being I will encounter death; particularly death of children. You never get used to the news, the grief, the finality. It doesn’t get easier. Each death is just as hard as the last.

Death happens every day. I know that; but when it strikes in someone who already was facing so many challenges in life it is hard to comprehend.

This one was a vibrant, full of life, elementary aged non-verbal boy with retinoblastoma. The seizures perhaps were painful, and I know from personal experience that living with communication differences can be really hard, but he isn’t supposed to be dead. He is supposed to be playing Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash and going to school.

This would be an example of me not staying calm…although perhaps it is reasonable to be a little upset as long as it is for a confined period of time after someone dies…also, I am not 100% sure that Criss Cross Crash still exists, but I really want to play that right now…I am kind of craving the sound of the whirring motors and the cars falling off the track…I usually lost at that game because I generally picked the pretty cars which usually aren’t the most balanced cars and therefore mine were a lot more likely to fall off the track in someone else’s zone, but when I played all by myself and therefore on all four teams I had a lot of fun…

Some of my problems are easily solvable on my own if I actually cared enough to solve them…for example…I was whining at myself that it is uncomfortable to wear shorts under my pants to keep them from falling down, but it is also annoying when they are falling down or when I am trying to keep my shirt pulled down over the top to keep them up…umm…easily solved by taking the time to find pants that fit if I care that much…I outgrew an awesome pair of pants in like middle school that had an elastic waistband, and have never since found such a comfortable and convenient pair of black dress pants…if it were up to me, all pants would have either elastic or draw string waistbands because zippers and buttons are annoying and people don’t come in exact sizes so pants shouldn’t either.

Also, I did think there was too much stuff in my pencil bag…but I intended to solve that problem by cleaning out the junk that accumulated in there rather than by leaving my whiteboard markers at (school I do not attend but had to go to for a field trip 😦 )…

Someone posted criteria that they suggested that young adults meet before being allowed to go to college…I am thankful that no one applied that list to me, ’cause I would still not be “ready” for college with those criteria, nor do I believe I would ever be ready. I understand that the criteria were designed to minimize the threat of lack of emotional maturity or mental health disorders impinging on the college experience, so things like understanding that calories from alcohol do not count towards nutritional eating and having an ability to tolerate anxiety makes sense to me, but I am very much not a fan of the criteria of using ketchup/mayo/salad dressing comfortably. I do understand that the intent behind that criterion is for students who may be leaning towards/already experiencing an eating disorder to get help for that before being released onto their own and potentially spiraling downward when no longer supervised, but using that criterion I will never be ready for college, because this girl is a picky eater who refuses ketchup, mayo, and salad dressing (among many other things). Just because I wipe the salad dressing off the vegetables before eating them (if I eat them at all after they have been adulterated with the dressing) and just because I peel off the bread that touched the mayo doesn’t mean I am eating disordered any more than you would consider your Similac fed infant to have an eating disorder because she refuses Enfamil. I think the concept is good, but some of the criteria need refinement before it is a practical list. I also believe that while it is a nice idea to think that it would be best for students to be emotionally mature and at very low risk of mental illness before going to college, I think that college is a time for students to learn more about who they are apart from the constant supervision of grade school, and having or being at risk for having a mental illness shouldn’t preclude a student from attending college as long as they are controlled well enough to be aware of their own needs (as in someone who is currently completely psychotic and delusional probably isn’t ready for college, nor is the student who is severely underweight yet refuses to eat and has no desire to change that behavior). Our brains don’t fully mature until our twenties—that’s something that car insurance people know and capitalize on—so yes, many students will make bad choices, but that doesn’t mean that they failed at the college experience. Unless their bad choice caused them to die, chances are it allowed them to learn to make better choices in the future and boosted their maturity…and let’s be honest, there are full-grown adults who make bad choices—that’s why we have conflict in our lives and in severe cases what we have a legal system for—if people can’t go to college until they meet all these criteria then what are we going to do with the ginormous cohort that will eventually be 90 years old and have never attended college? How will we maintain our society when we have maybe only like one or two people ready for college directly after graduation and we thus have a significantly reduced work force to take care of a growing number of people? Just sayin’ It is also kind of like red-shirting. Sure, you can keep your kid out of kindergarten for an extra year so he or she is more likely to be at the top of his or her class and has more time to mature before entering kindergarten, but at the end of the day, eventually you are legally required to enroll your child in kindergarten and the teachers are trained to help 5 year olds learn how to function in a school environment, because they know that a lot of kids are coming to them not knowing yet how to sit in their assigned chair all morning (or afternoon as the case may be) and to raise their hands before speaking. They don’t expect the kids to know that yet…and let’s be honest if some of those kids are like me, they become comfortable with the school setting and still don’t always wait before talking, and nothing bad happened except for occasionally being told to be quiet, but most teachers appreciate the participation even if it isn’t preceded by a hand in the air.

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