A Newbie Discovers Daylogs and Coincidentally Also Has a Crisis and Revelation All at Once

Too summarize, for the ADHD and Catch-22 krew: less A. T. Chapman, chaplain, and more Yossarian, please.

There is nothing on my walls in my bedroom. There wasn't anything there in my last apartment either, and my parents were in charge of the wall decorations when I was in high school. I guess I want to walk into my bedroom someday and see paintings, or posters, or something. But what if they are the wrong things? What if some people walk into my bedroom and make judgments about me based on what I have my walls? I don't want to make a mistake. I don't like what I put on my walls when I was living in the dorm, so now I figure I'm incapable of interior decoration. That is why the process of choosing things to put on my walls is paralyzing. They will probably stay blank until I get over it, but I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe once I save up some money.

It's the same with everything else. (I am sorry. Yes, I am now going to reveal the moral of that parable as though I am saying something profound. Yes, I am incapable of action without self-analysis. Yes, I am in a self-deprecating mood.) I guess I figured it all out. Like some sort of indie-rock Colonel Cathcart or more paranoid Edward Norton in Fight Club I constantly class my actions in terms of feathers in my cap or black eyes. Is this poster/shirt/CD/class/major/religion/life direction/haircut/choice/flavor of bubblegum going to define me as a person in a way that is inconsistent with the concept of myself that I have carved out as acceptable, and that mostly from my parents' definition of the word? With the next phrase I speak/IM/email/post to the internet, could negative consequences arise? Do I deserve them to arise? Should I just not bother?

Obviously I'm exaggerating. I have said and done dumb things before. I have said what could have been dumb things but turned out well. I just don't make it a habit to guide my actions based on what I know I want. I don't make it a habit to ignore negative response from other people and only focus on what is constructive. I don't make it a habit to do what I know is the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences. I should do these things.

I am a physics major. I have a senior project. It is the bane of my existence. It is the worms eating into my brain. It is the chasm in my self esteem. These are all names I use for my evil, oppressive, and deadly senior project.

It is only a year's worth of 3 credits per semester. That isn't so bad. Then again, 3 credits at my school is thought to be 9 hours a week of work. That's 32 weeks of 9 hours a week, or 8 weeks of 36 hours per week.

When I think of my senior project, I want to crawl into my bed and sleep all day. I want to get into the habit of sucking my thumb in a fetal position. I want to run away to Canada and open a used book store.

Trust me: it was very cool. I liked it a lot at first, and I definitely liked explaining it to people. I worked very hard on it last summer, in 2002, when I was getting paid and it was not yet my senior project. Unfortunately, when the school year started and the senior project started, I stopped. I don't know why. While limping out of school backwards, chanting my mantra of "D is for Diploma," I neglected to work on my project. After it was clear that I hadn't done anything for a semester, I was going to work twice as hard second semester. After a few fits and starts, I quit working. Then I was going to do 200 hours in the lab in the last 8 weeks of the semester and call it even. Again, I soon quit. I received an I grade for the work, and I was going to finish it over the summer. Keep in mind: all of the rest of my degree requirements have been completed.

It didn't get done.

Why didn't it get done? I can't fully answer that. Am I lazy? I don't think so. I've worked very hard for many things in my little life. Am I stupid? Perhaps. I just kept feeling that I shouldn't try to work anymore because I had already failed to work for a few weeks, and I had missed my chance to do well. I didn't want to ask for help. I didn't want to admit that I couldn't do it. All I had to do at pretty much any time during the past 15 months would have been to walk in, admit that I am having a very hard time, get the help I needed from anyone I could get it from to get my lazy ass into the laboratory, and get to work.

A few days ago I was told by my advisor that he was giving me a failing grade. Today I got an e-mail from the professor who is in charge of my major saying that rather than giving me the F, he will give me the chance to get a new project, get a new advisor, and start fresh, since this project is hardly done anyway. I have 10 weeks to complete it. That is plenty of time.

I'm scared. I am worried that I will fail. But I talked to both professors today. They are supportive of me, and my old advisor says he wants very much to do anything he can to help me succeed.

It is good to feel that people are on your side.

I have several choices. Many seem intriguing. Fuel cell research, can an MRI detect the mechanism of consciousness in the human brain, Monte Carlo techniques for determining the optimal arrangement and efficiency of a certain type of particle detectors for a certain situation: these are my options.

But I’m really just hoping that I can somehow, in some way, manage to get the bastard done with and graduate from college. I know this doesn’t make me a failure in life, it just seems like it does. Hell, if I earn it, I could still get an A. I could still go to law school. I could still be a happy, successful, human being.

Every time I think of my senior project, I don’t feel like one.

Today my first WU got killed.

I guess I'm just like everyone else. I was indignant. I didn't understand. All of my other gems, particularly since I started noding again after a 2.5 year absence, had done well enough, I felt, for a level 1 amateur like myself. Why wasn't this one brilliant too?

Then the pattern that has been killing my ambition since forever struck. I realized that I had screwed up, and I didn't want to have anything to do with this stupid website anymore. I had worked hard on that little bastard, but made stupid mistakes and errors in judgment, and now it was dead. And wasn't that like anything else I ever set out to accomplish?

It wasn't about the silly WU anymore. What had I managed to accomplish in my little life? How can I manage to transition most efficiently from the wallowing in your own self pity stage to the learning a lesson and moving on stage of the evening?

I am too apologetic.

So I refuse to be apologetic anymore (and by "refuse" I mean "might try a little," but progress is progress). I'm sure I'm offending plenty of noders' delicate sensibilities right now. That does not bother me. I adore the concept of this website and I think I understand more of the point of its operation today: you folks intend on enjoying this corner of the internet for quite a while, and you don't want that enjoyment infringed upon. So: ignore votes and exp and reputation and C! and popularity. I trust that if I am acting in a patently uncouth manner, I will be duly notified, and I'll quit. If I am doing something that people think is worthwhile, I'll find that out too, and I might decide to do more of it. But for the most part, I'm just going to enjoy everything2 and the incredibly cool ideas behind its inception and operation by using my good judgment about what I would want if I were a successful user here, without worrying about bumps along the way. With patience, I just might be a successful user here someday.

There's a moral about life, too. I'll leave that up to the incredibly bored reader. Hopefully I managed to learn it. Maybe I'll try to graduate from college now.