You know that buzz silence has? You know how that chorus of nothing seems to multiply when you’ve come up woefully inadequate, again?
It wasn’t so bad when it was just the Professor scratching the chalk-board, now it’s the whole class, out of their seats…handing in their papers before waddling up right next to her to paw at that fucking blackboard. Scratching out, “Are you done yet? We are, why aren’t you?!” All the while I’m sitting here, just trying to recall these mechanisms so I don’t fail.
I took a detailed Basic Life Support course last Wednesday in preparation for my EMT basic this summer. It was a six hour chunk I was sort of dreading having to tackle over Spring Break. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the experience. For those of you who don’t know, and it’s not like I mention this too often, I’m a chemist at the University of Iowa. My course-work is firmly grounded in the theoretical as opposed to the practical.
I was expecting this to be like my lectures and courses I have taken over the past four years, but it ended up feeling a lot more like a relaxed lab-day. The only practical part of chemistry is lab-work, after all. But it’s mostly tainted by things like heat and entropy reactions which involve literally staring at a filtration or distillation set-up for hours on end, all the while hoping your product is what it should be, since you’ll have to start over if the mel-temp says it melts early or late (GC or IR or any measure of purity really). Those days are nerve-wracking.
This was different. The instructors were lively and we had practical assessments that followed each unit of the course. This made me want to pay attention, because I felt like I was going to use or need the content instead of simply scribbling tidbits to transcribe onto little flashcards I’d use once or twice. That’s why I’m excited to take EMT basic this summer. I’m thinking it will be comprised of mostly practical applications and tests that seem like the perfect change of pace for me. It’s not that I hate chemistry, I love a lot of things about it, it’s just that I feel like I’m slowly becoming inadequate and falling behind. The more time I spend drawing and writing and creating things that matter to me, the harder it feels to care about my course-work, which is still important. I’ve spent years pursuing this and I’m right at the end, but I’m faltering and it’s terrifying. I know I’m capable of seeing it through.
This chiral strain,
Pulls me through a viscous game,
Keeps me sane,
Through all the pain,
A crying shame,
That I can’t feign,
the heart to blame,
Anyone for my selfish reign, a choice all my own.
A very simple poem describing my frustration at my own failure to balance school, volunteering, work, and my art. I knew what I was getting into, but anxiety gets the better of me sometimes. Stuff like this traps the issues on the paper, freeing myself from their weight. Helps me keep it in perspective, you know?
It’s hard, sometimes I really don’t enjoy school the way I used to. It’s disorienting because I picked a major I loved and was interested in. But sometimes the urge to create taints that love, increasing anxiety, and leading to an overwhelmed mind-state.
Language note: I use chiral in the latin form, meaning “claw”. And yes, I do mean viscous.