80 Hours

Monday, February 2

I awake from my slumber as the lecture closes. Little was I to be aware that this day would be the beginning of a wonderful journey into insanity. The day started off wonderfully enough, with a chat with my calculus professor, clarifying, at least to myself, that I indeed have slept through a majority of calculus classes that quarter. I resolve to stand throughout the class the next day.

I begin with a practice of my Oboe, my first since my last lesson on Wednesday. (This is a bad thing.) Well, at least, first with my new reed. I had tried the old reed once, but forgot to log it into the book. I have three new reeds to try out. Interestingly, I am completely delighted with two of them, giving me hopes that this quarter's worth of Oboe lessons might actually be progressive on my studies. Especially if I manage another hour tonight. For that matter, if I DON'T manage another hour tonight, I'm screwed, because I'm only going to be able to report a max of two hours of practice Wednesday to the teacher, since tomorrow's busy day. And he won't like that.

I attempt to begin Piano practicing by going to the music office and asking for a metronome. Get caught socializing with the worker for half an hour.

I hate metronomes. Seriously, I do. It's the one musical device I've never been able to use with any degree of effectiveness.

Rats! The music office is closed for lunch. How am I supposed to get my ID card back from borrowing the metronome if it's closed? I need that card to get food at the cafe! Well, no, that's not true. I'm not going to eat lunch, because that costs too much money, and I'm already going to hit my quarterly minimum as it is anyways. Besides, I need to make adjustments to my fantasy hockey teams.

Quick! Must finish Theory Homework before professor begins speaking! Maybe I shouldn't have taken so much time on the internet but a few short minutes ago. Emotions following shortly after: Relief! I've finished the assignment! Now, how to sneak the assignment onto the desk while the lecture goes on. Bah, who cares. It's still going to be on time even if I hand it in as class ends. Despair: I'm a music major who can't keep a tune when singing four-part harmony. I need to complain about that during my piano lesson.

Piano lesson. Fun.

Hurrah! Guess who has time to kill now! Wait a moment, there's a note on my computer screen; phone Jake regarding Engineering class project. I don't have the time for this tonight!

Well, I guess I'll be doing a group project tonight, meaning I must do my Calculus Homework now. Except, the library is closed, due to a funeral for a faculty member at the church, and I can't do Calculus homework in my room as I get too distracted... such as right now.

Well, I'll just head over to the cafe and I'll eat there, then go to the library and do calc, so that I will be able to finish it. What! The cafe hours have changed to opening at 5!!! What is wrong with these people!!! Well, I might as well walk all the way across campus to the financial aid office, and see if I can't pick up a form for next year's aid. Those forms are supposed to be available today.

Mmmm.... chocolate....

Well, now that this place has FINALLY opened, I can now eat. Although there's too many people here to make eating alone look decent, and yet there's no one here that I know. That's why the cafe was supposed to open at 4:30 like it used to, so that unsocialble people like myself don't look bad eating alone when no one's in the cafe! Hmmm... Burger or Rice, burger or rice... burger. Oh, and I'll pick up a brownie while I'm at it. I'm going to eat chocolate at least once tonight, so I might as well get it from the cafe where I can charge it.

And here we are, arrived at the library. Hmmm... maybe before I start I should browse the library just a little bit....

Well, isn't this wonderful! Accomplishing a grand total of ONE PROBLEM COMPLETED in one hour and forty-five minutes. This really sucks. If I'm going to waste time, I might as well waste time on my computer. I'm going back to my room.

Group project time. I sure hope they don't mind I'm late.

Well, I've got fifteen minutes until I start my laundry. May as well check out the NHL scores. Besides, that string of laziness that started in the library... it hasn't gone anywhere. And I'm starting to get slightly depressed because I know I won't be able to put another hour of practice on the Oboe tonight.

Well don't I have the most wonderful social life! The friends I trust most are on MSN, and one of them hasn't logged on in 8 days now. At least, not when I've been online, which has been all the time I've been in my dorm room. This is the problem with having only one friend in the same time zone as myself. Well, let's see what we can find on the internet on other people's lives, since I have none of my own. That crush of mine is starting to become rather disappointing, especially since the prospects of any advancement further than a crush are diminishing rather rapidly.

"Captain, sir, I see something on the horizon!"
"What is it radar man?"
"It appears to be failure, and it's rapidly approaching at 24 knots from north-north-west."
"Engage in evasive manoevers!"
"Wait, there's another one, and this one's coming from the east! And another one from the south! we're surrounded, sir!"
"Captain, what do we do! Captain! Captain! Are you there?"
And my social failures that have been brought to mind are now matched with spiritual failures. Apparently I've conquered nothing in this department. Not to mention that, since I have yet to start homework, academic failures, that have already begun with a C+ grade in Calculus so far, are not far behind. What does one do in times like this? That's a really, really good question.

Well, maybe one of my MSN friends will lend a listening ear to my troubles. My MSN name at the moment, "Fringing on Genius (aka Insanity)" is rather accurate. What else am I supposed to think? I'm the valedictorian of my high school graduating class, and had only one grade lower than an A- throughout my entire high school career, and I'm currently pulling in a below A- GPA, social failing, spiritually failing, musically failing, and missing every expectation that people have of me.

Wasn't I supposed to do my laundry? Well, I suppose now will be as good as a time as never. Mmmm... Reese's pieces...

Tuesday, February 3

Ever noticed how some of the greatest works of literature, art, and music, have come at depressing times to the artist? For instance, Barnes's Third Symphony was written right after the composer had lost his daughter, and it's considered by many to be his greatest work. Rachmaninoff wrote his Piano Concerto No. 2 after having his previous compositions rejected so badly that he gave up music for a short time and going into a depression. Beethoven wrote one of his greatest symphonies on a night when he couldn't sleep and so he got up and started playing the piano. Well, I'm both sleep deprived and depressed. Maybe I need to start writing something tonight; its my best shot at fame.

Well, I'd better move the laundry to the dryer. I'm advised by my one MSN contact who is actually awake at this hour that a piano concerto would be the best thing to write. I can't really disagree with that. Although if I wish to gain the full effect of depression, thus enabling me to write better, I need to finish my Calculus assignment first.

Mmmm.... Chocolate....

Well, what's my track record on all-nighters? None thus far, save for one jet-lag induced one when I was but 10 years old. Well, now's as good as a time as ever. I can just see it now: an all-weeker, coming right up! Maybe I should journal my experiences during this week. Perhaps it will reveal to those academics out there what causes insanity. If they figure it out, good for them; after all, genius is but one fine line away from insanity. Do you think that if they do figure it out, they will be able to create a shortcut to creating geniuses by using insanity? Well, maybe I'd better start those assignments. I need quite a fair bit of time if I intend to get started on that Piano Concerto.

Wow, I actually finished an assignment! Sure, it was Music Theory, but, still, it's a sign of some form of progress, which in itself is quite the miracle. And now, to get my laundry. The scary thing about the laundry room is how much it is in use at this hour of the morning.

It took quite a while to fold my clothes, now, didn't it? My roommate has decided to turn in, so as a courtesy, the light in my room is shut off. Of course, who needs a light when you have the glow of a computer monitor?

Hurrah! The Honours Writing assignment is complete! Sure, all it was was to read, but it did take a considerable amount of time. Now, for Calculus...

Okay, got distracted. NOW, for Calculus...

Wow, if I keep this up, I'll probably run into my East Coast friends waking up...

Okay, never mind the last one there. Calculus is finally finished, and quite badly done if I might say so myself. Clearly my former talent in mathematics has ceased to exist. Either that or I never had talent, and was simply the product of great teachers. Still, my current time now qualifies for the record of the latest I've stayed up. Being only 3 hours removed from when I need to arise, not to mention my currently feeling depressed as to my life situation, I will now move to the Piano Concerto. Let's see what thoughts are produced here.

Writing a Piano Concerto is rather difficult when one does not have a piano to work with. This probably should have been obvious, but it wasn't. Though I can probably sketch out the main concept that I want this piece to have, as I do have the emotions required for this at the moment. Now, if only the music building was open at these hours.

My mind wanders as I write to my complete social failures of recent. They provide rather excellent themes of meditation. Apparently sorrow works wonders for composers. This memory is called upon after my current plan at seeking socializing fails, miserably. Well, not quite; I did get about five minutes of socializing in, after meeting one person. However, that was not quite what I'd hoped for. On the other hand, if I, the great MSN addict, in my usual daily routines, don't check MSN in the mornings, why should others? Certainly, I am not up right now due to a desire to socialize, granted, but it would have been nice...

Curses! I fell asleep! I can't even succeed in my plans for my own self-demise, my plans to stay awake for 100 straight hours this week. Truly, I'm failing on EVERY front. Hmmm.... Maybe if I make plans to fail all my classes, I'll actually start doing well in them....

Yes, I'm late for Calculus, again. It's been a while since I've brought food into this class, since I know the professor doesn't like it, but I'm just that hungry. Besides, I'm going to try to follow his suggestion and stand at the back of the classroom for the entire period. It should do wonders in helping me stay awake.

Okay, so I did stay awake for the entire period, though I nearly fell asleep standing on my feet at one point, where my legs tired to the point I slouched to the ground. Due to being in a continual half-conscious state, I doubt that I learned very much. Oh well. As for now, perhaps I can start writing the symphony. What else am I supposed to do with a 45 minute period of time?

I'm starting to see why it took some composers months to write Piano Concertos. Being a college student, I don't have months. Which is all too bad, really.

My, what a wonderful chapel experience, which I listened to in a semi-conscious state. Truly fascinating! I believe the topic was on how we can only learn if we desire to do so; or at least, that we are in school for the joy of learning, not for a piece of paper.

Ah, free time. Perhaps now I'll get some sleep, right outside of my next class, so that I'll be awakened if I do fall asleep.

I didn't really expect to fall asleep, did I?

Well, Honors Writing has proved to be difficult. I do believe I've bombed the memorization AGAIN, and the professor said that he'd turn the class up a notch in a week. I CAN'T HANDLE ANOTHER NOTCH!!!!! If there's any class I skimp on, it's honors writing. Not that I don't respect the class, or want a good grade in it: I think it is one of the most valuable classes I'm taking. However, the assignments in that class are so easy to skimp on, because they aren't black and white. Skimp on a calculus assignment and you lose 20% due to a late assignment. Skimp on reading for Honors writing and there's a good chance you just might get away with it. Still, I don't like my prospects at the moment. Well, I guess I'm now in an excellent state to log my day's events thus far in the journal. So far, I've had a grand total of 2 people comment on how sleepy I looked today. This is only slightly above average, yet I had 80% less sleep than average last night. So, do I really look that tired, or are people just saying that because I'm blinking my eyes more than usual? And regarding my crush, I've been unable to contact her for days, which is really starting to depress me. Though I haven't had contact with a number of people for days, for that matter.

What, no band today? I was looking forward to playing my beloved music! As for Piano performance, I was able to hear a Piano Quartet Prelude by Rachmaninoff. As I'm hearing his music, I'm starting to realize how his works are so much like mine: a love for the incredibly difficult, and a love for the emotional, passionate works as well. He has his own personal style that I can't possibly imitate, however. That doesn't mean that the aforementioned traits aren't something I'll have to incorporate into the piano concerto. Actually, count on it!

The cafe robbed me! They had advertised that the pasta they were serving was $1.99 per serving, and I paid over 5 dollars for two servings! Lousy cafeteria. And I'm not even full!

Well, I think tonight shall head in a totally different direction than last night. Though that doesn't mean I won't be up late thinking about the piano concerto. First, I'm now no longer unhappy socially, as just about all of my friends, including some I had gone without contact in months, and one I had given up hope of contacting, have contacted me, or vice versa. It was quite wonderful also to make contact with my crush again. I'm not totally satisfied with the state of my social life, but at least I feel hopeful at the moment. Even if I'm still screwed academically for the time being, as I still haven't started my tomorrow's homework, though if I leave now, it might actually be finished before 11pm, and I might even get some practicing in before then as well. The Leafs were creamed 4-1 by the Blackhawks, the second-worst team in hockey, so that wasn't so good, although the Senators were beaten by New Jersey to make up for it. And finally, the catalyst for my current good mood, some guys were walking around the dorm, knocking on every door, and offering a free donut to the inhabitants. Mmmm... sugar! How can I not be happy after that wonderful random act of kindness? And so, I'm off, to attempt to do four hours of work in three, with time to spare. And hopefully, this happy mood will last long enough to enable me to finish my homework with enough time to continue working on the Concerto. I think I'm starting to fall in love with it already!

As for the plan to do four hours of work in three, I did two hours of work in three. One hour of work was piano practicing, and obviously can no longer be done tonight, unless I sneak out of the dorm and break into the music building, something I certainly don't intend on doing. And the other is Linear Algebra, something I'm sure I could live with doing in my dorm room. At least is isn't Calculus I'm attempting in this room! I do dread tomorrow's Oboe lesson, as I will have to report having done 2 hours of practice all week, which is pitiful. The funny thing is of the three people practicing when I was just an hour ago, two were practicing Oboe, myself included. So, the question now is, "If I don't have any more than an hour of homework, am I really going to try to stay up all night?" Well, were I to do so, that would be called insanity, something I had experienced for a short time yesterday. However, I don't believe my troubles are over; and yet, staying up for another all-nighter would be the equivalent of academic suicide. My Calculus grade is low enough as it is, not to mention that on the last two or three assignments, I probably only got 70% of the questions right, which too is pitiful. I think that will require checking into the professor's office. As for staying up late, my mood is just a little too cheery to do something like that. I can't continue the concerto if I've temporarily lost the insanity, or else it won't turn out so good! Anyways, after a short internet browsing, I will go do Linear Algebra homework.

Wednesday, February 4

Well, maybe now is a proper time to start my Linear Algebra assignment!

I'm done, but I think I'll just do a little internet browsing before going to bed.

Man, where'd the time go?

Well, now that I've blown it again, I may as well go to sleep. I suppose I will continue to fail until the day I die, now won't I?

Words cannot express what I'm feeling at the moment: the knowledge that you've just slept in and missed 3 classes. Actually, a few choice curse words would work, but I don't use those words. Not only did I miss Calc, the class with a C+ grade, but I also missed my Oboe lesson, which hurts even more. This is hopeless... Well, I'd better run to class... and prepare some really good begging. My Calculus assignment is late. I can just assume that one. As for Oboe, he'll probably understand what I'm going through at the moment. The Linear Algebra teacher likely won't care, and the assignment is still on time. As for me, maybe I'd better turn myself in to counselling services. Even if my former opinion that "Counselling is for insane and depressed people" still held true at the moment, I think I fit both categories.

Went quite like I predicted... well, almost, anyways. The Calculus professor isn't in his office; Counselling services is unusually closed at this hour; the cafeteria is closed and I haven't eaten since last night; the Linear Algebra professor really didn't care; and the Oboe teacher probably offered the most sound advice. But as if my day isn't bad enough, I received an email which stated that the Ontario Conference has cancelled my aid, because I switched majors to music. This in all wouldn't be quite so bad, if it weren't for the fact that I DIDN'T SWITCH MAJORS!!! In addition, I need that money. Seriously. So, I'm now going to have to sort out that stupid mess. You know, a sympathy person might be rather useful at the moment. At the very least, slightly relieving. C'est la vie, eh?

Well, the office had no clue what was going on. They didn't even know I was awaiting a church grant. Oh well. Figures.

Band once again, it seems, has lifted my spirits. Although I must once again complain on how the cafeteria has changed its operating hours to 5:00-6:30 for dinner. I should write a note about it. The students staying in my room during ChoirFest have arrived. I suppose that means no more 7am nights, eh?

I wish to congratulate myself for actually practising for once. The Oboe, that is. I'd have practised Piano as well, but I was stupid enough to leave my music in my room when I left.

Now seems a good time as any to start homework. I don't think I have too much; but then again, this is likely a result of missing two classes and a lesson this morning.

Well, I'm done my homework. Is there really any point in staying up? This is obviously affecting my grades; and I'd like to have a reason besides self-inflicted torture for my bad grades. So I'll try to sleep. Besides, I've got no classes til 12:00 tomorrow.

Thursday, February 5

Well, didn't I ever sleep in! In the next hour, I must eat, take a shower, and finish my engineering reading report. Can it be done? Probably not. But that's okay!

Okay, now I can start ;-) At least now that I've managed to crawl out of bed. You wouldn't believe how unbelievably hard it was for me. It was SO hard! I don't think its ever been so hard.

Well, I managed two of the things on the list; shower and homework. Food can wait. I'm fifteen minutes late for class as it stands, and I don't need to be any later.

I wonder if the professor was trying to send me a message. He was singing the praises of students that go to sleep early and start practicing at 5AM. (This was a music professor.) As well, he also mentioned that he knew a number of students in the class weren't getting enough sleep. It is true, I need sleep, and it is likely affecting my performance in class. But how am I supposed to snap out of it?

Well, I just turned myself in to counselling services. Apparently they have people who can teach me to deal with stress. That WOULD be helpful, indeed! And NO, I do not NEED counselling. Just someone who can help with stress control.

That was an interesting calculus help session. I just discovered that I know absolutely nothing about what's been going in class. This is a very, VERY bad thing. Having a C+ at midterm is one thing; it would be a real embarrassment to finish with that. I do believe I've been cured: a drive to do well in class has been restored. However, to do this, I must remember one rule that I had once known: one hour of lecture done well is worth two hours of studying alone. Especially when the professor is introducing a new concept. And so, I must learn to sleep. Lesson 2: There really is no point in doing homework late at night if it causes you to sleep in and hand the assignment in late anyways. I didn't learn that the first time it happened to me, but I think I got it the second time. In short, sleep IS more important the homework, whether I believe it or not. And so I must learn to go to sleep even if I have homework over my head, wake up early, and do it then. And finally, going to sleep early will hopefully influence me to do my homework early; this will then free me with lots of spare time in the morning during which I may practice, or have those long-lost devotions that I've been sorely missing. It would also ensure that I have plenty of time for breakfast, something I've been having quite late recently, which causes me to skip lunch. I'm skinny enough as it stands! And so, if I can remember this, I should be okay. One more lesson: Sleep deprivation causes depression! It's going to be hard to adapt, but if I don't make it, I'd better be content to have a 2.5GPA for the rest of my time here. This being the end of my current slump, I shall now end this journal, with a wish of luck for the rest of you still stuck; these things don't last forever. Sometimes all it takes is someone speaking reality to you. Other times you will never know why you got out of it. Just remember that you have the prayers and concern of friends. Au revoir!

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