The Art Of Freaking Out A’la Afiza

I have to study.

Study, study, study. 

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With the emphasis on DYING!

I used to enjoy studying when that was all I did full time. I enjoyed being a student (especially when I was in Australia)

Now I am not just a student. I am a doctor AND a student. I find that I can easily lost the momentum when I have to stop studying in order to deal with life for awhile before I can return to my desk to resume my studies.

When I was a medical student, I was very particular about eliminating distractions. I even deactivated my Facebook account when the exam time was near (and I know this is THE favourite method for most medical students too. Most of us deactivated facebook when exam was near) Facebook is a major study-deterrent that ever was created! And so is You Tube! 

When I was a houseman, I stopped blogging regularly and only wrote a post every 3-4 months; mostly during my 8 days, end-of-posting leave. I was the type of houseman who saved all her leaves at the end of the posting. I could work continuously for months (and remember that when I was a HO, flexi hours were not yet implemented initially. We didn’t get weekend leaves at all. No leaves at all except the 8 days/posting leaves) When I am in my working mode, I am fully in that working mode only and don’t like to interrupt the rhythm suddenly. When I am in my holiday mode, I don’t want to think about work.

(I kind of understand the rational behind Interpersonal And Social Rhythm Therapy for Bipolar Disorder patients. I think I need that too. I mean, disruption in routine is really annoying!) 

Now that I am an adult, major distraction from studying is working! And the house-chores I have to do to keep a clean house. And my cats.

I cannot simply deactivate my work or my cats. (Yeah, OBVIOUSLY.) And I cannot tolerate a messy house so I still have to maintain my weekly cleaning (and I plan to do those maintenance stuff after Asar, when I am too tired to study anyway). And for the past one year I have taken up regular, almost-daily exercising and that has become a major distraction too. (I exercise in the late afternoon during weekdays and in the morning during weekends. I am going to have to reschedule exercising too; reduce its frequency and make it after Asar.)

So I have all these rescheduling activities planned that are yet to be done. I kept postponing them. I told myself  “It’s Ramadhan. Focus on ibadah, first.” (Alasan? Yeah! When I am hungry, I can’t focus. True!)

But now Ramadhan has been over for more than a week, and I am still procrastinating. (Alasan apa pula nak bagi ni? Just me being lazy!)

They say that women have brains that multitask.

I am not one of them.

“That’s because you are a man trapped in a woman’s body, kak ngah,” said my elder sister. She loves that silly joke. *roll my eyes*  

(The truth is, all five of us siblings are not good at multi-tasking. I think we are all men trapped in women’s bodies, then. My sister only got married after she was done with her Master. And she only produced my sweet nephew, Eshan, after she was done with her doctorate! And after Eshan, suddenly she is popping regularly every two years! See? She also planned her life in a way that would let her focus on one major thing at a time. Master first, then married with no kids, then doctorate, then kids every two years!  Systematic progression! Actually, she is the ultimate ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ poster girl, haha)

I get easily lost in a certain project, and get fully absorbed in it, and totally drowned in it and when I am like that, I will ignore everything else. Even a phone call will be a distraction and I would ignore it when I am in the middle of a book. I even ignored doorbells until the prospective guests simply left. My mother scolded me so badly once when no one else was in the house and I did not open the door to her friend who came by. She found out about it quite soon after she came home  (the friend probably called her and mentioned that no one was at home when she came) and my ears were blistered by her lectures of how Muslims should always honour their guests. (Okay. I understand. By the way, I was a teenager at that time, if that can excuse my conduct. I just prefer for guests to text me first if they want to come to my house. If I am not mentally prepared to accept guests, I will just pretend I am not at home. When people come to my house  unexpectedly, I have to scramble around for hijab, change my sleeveless shirt into proper shirt, my shorts into trousers…prepare food and drinks, shift my state of mind into socialising mode. Just too much effort all of a sudden that I am not mentally prepared for. I might even be in the middle of a good book and have to suddenly cease my reading at the good part. Just..ugh, not nice. If you want to come to my house, just give me a heads-up first. Prepare me.)

Because of my tendency to be fully absorbed in only one major thing at any given time, so I prefer not to multi-task. (of course when life put you in different situations and you have no choice but to adapt, then you will do it. But your default mode is not like that and you don’t prefer it.) I wish I could just study without going to work. Or just work without having to study. It is my weakness as an INTP that we resent the time away from our main focus at that particular time. That’s how we work. In short bursts of energy that wouldn’t last long unless we nurture it, and protect it, and prolong it by shutting out other distractions that have nothing to do with what we are currently working on. 

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And therefore, I salute women who work, study and have kids. You are a superwoman! My respect for you knows no bounds! You are the ideal that I can never attain. 

When I am studying, I wouldn’t even touch novels.(Unless I am exhausted and I think I deserve a break. Even then, I might only go through novels I have read so that I know which parts to skip to save time. Ni memang desperate just nak lepas gian. Haha. Kalau tak tahan sangat dan nak juga baca novel baru, I only start on the thin ones, around 300-400 pages or so, and not literature ones but simple light ones so that I can finish it ASAP and get back to my major task). I might even stop blogging and writing for a long time (or reduce the frequency of doing them). My state of mind when I am studying and enjoying myself is so different that adjusting requires too much effort.  My creative side and my analytical side do not appreciate the random back and forth that they have to do.

Work hard. Play hard. One thing at a time. 

So, if I don’t update my blog for the next few months, you know why.

I am in my ‘studying, do not disturb, do not interrupt, do not make me mad until I have to binge-read or binge-write’ mode. I am going to take care of my mood so that I won’t need my reading fix or my writing fix. I am going to learn to be calm and unfazed, and unperturbed no matter what insensible, illogical, annoying stuff assail my senses. 

Yeah. (Yeah, right)

Because the exam is near and I am freaking out!

And this is The Art of Freaking Out a’la Afiza : Hibernate, save energy from unnecessary distractions in mood and activities, and withdraw from unnecessary socializing. 

So, wish me luck and pray for me. Freaking out mode is fully ON and blasting! 

Until next time. (Probably until the end of this year. Damn, I am going to miss this. Sobs, sobs).

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