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03 January 2007 @ 01:16 am
Happy 2007!  
Actual post time? Yes, I think so...

I don't really expect anyone to read through this entire post – it's going to be long. :o I haven't updated in ages, though, so there is a lot to say. 'tis time to reflect on the first semester of college, hopes for the future, the holiday season, relationships, and the new year.

Hm. The first semester of college was never going to be entirely smooth for me – am not fond of transitions, and yet I'd spent years building up my dreams for this one. (I spend too much time living in fantasies. My ideal involved a small grey kitten, a cozy apartment, perhaps a lover, and stimulating, intriguing classes... what freshman has all those things?) I was pretty damn fortunate in that my dorm was private (suite-system: no group bathrooms, yay!). I also shared a room with a good, familiar friend and had two fantastic classes (History of Madness - even the name is cool – and German 212, which was simply mellow and interesting). Meanwhile, my ever-incomparable boyfriend was patient and supportive through the less-pleasant times...

...of which there were enough, yeah. Since I just used my lj as dumping place then, you guys may remember. Depression is a pretty cyclical thing, and whether you're looking at the descent or the emergence, it's always difficult to separate cause and effect. For example – let's take the happy bit – it's been going a lot better since I got home and started drawing again. So, am I okay 'cos I get to indulge in creativity regularly now...? Or am I able to draw and write because the moods have abated? It's not like I didn't try at college – plenty of times, I said, “I'm going to make it a priority to draw, yes, I am”, but then other tasks would overwhelm my free time, and even my lecture notes were blank and unadorned.

In any case, it calls to mind one of the essays we read in Madness. Beard, the author of the theory of neurasthenia, observed that patients with periodic psychological difficulties tended to blame themselves once the troubles subsided, and wonder why they hadn't been able to control it all so easily as they did in normal times. That is very tempting, alright. Particularly so since no one behaves entirely attractively during paranoia/depression. I should've gone to that class, I shouldn't have told him that - why was I so lazy and helpless and idle and gloomy and sad?

The questions have a ring of truth; after all, there is always a measure of control. Some people are stronger than others. And some people know themselves better and can predict and handle such problems. (Depression for me is... feeling tired all the time, lots of headaches, flashbacks to difficult times [mostly in dreams], and the scariest bits: random sense of hallucination, whether 'tis the room moving or just relentless thoughts. The latter might possibly be described as voices, though I hate to be that dramatic... tis just, like, repeated urges or encouragement to do things I would never, ever consider under normal circumstances.)

But there are some things I can be proud of, maybe? I didn't cut or do anything drastic. I only annoyed one person with my complaining... :p Okay, Ken and Jill and Kez listened too, and Brad on livejournal <3, but mainly it was Paul. And he's still with me, so it seems I didn't push him off completely. My weight stayed fairly steady, and I finished with a 3.3 GPA. That's... bad, considering, but it's not disastrous; it leaves me just barely within the honours program. Most importantly, I learned a lot.

Things to do better (in general, and if this happens again): maintain a strict schedule to help with physical things, alwaysalwaysalways go to class, plan out each week and approach the tasks on a day-to-day base, don't be stupid about asking for help, start taking anti-depressants sooner, draaaawreadwrite, talk on the phone to close friends, 'specially that cute European one, go outside, and keep the room clean!

I think that's enough depression-y reflection for now... and I'm not trying to cast all my shortcomings this semester onto that; for sure, there was also simple organizational failure, procrastination, and laziness. Those are things I need to work on, too.

Now I'm going to ramble about my major, a little. I was originally a Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences major – German was thrown in for the fun of it, and I figured I'd do my best to graduate on time. Now, I would like to change. There are quite a few reasons for that...

Firstly, exact sciences are not really my cup of tea. Chemistry threw that fact into sharp relief, but it's not just chemistry – I've always preferred language and history and yummy ideas to the quantitative analyses of science. I can do it, I guess, with some amount of struggle, but it doesn't really make me happy. (On the other hand: happiness is largely a matter of self-determination, and if I decided to stay with NRES, I might learn to like it. Druid-y scientist persona and all that).

Secondly, the NRES program at UIUC is very agriculture-oriented, which doesn't quite match my idealistic vision of global, wild, integrative natural resources. I want to play with wolves like Helene Grimaud! ...Not gauge whether or not Illinois soil is conducive to a variety of white corn. This is something I should have expected, since the University was founded on an agricultural basis, but I was silly and thought I'd end up in Colorado.

Thirdly, as an ACES student, I have access to the alumni resource center, which means I can chart the careers of recent NRES graduates. Their jobs are really not what I had in mind. They tend to work for big corporations in advising positions – not, “this is how you save trees”, but “this is how you can cut down the most trees without scarring the ecosystem and ruining your profits”. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, 'tis necessary... but it's not what I wanted. And it's the best-case scenario, really. Many of the graduates go on to very tenuously related business positions, like selling DNA synthesis equipment. I've yet to see anyone who does park or wildlife management. (But, again, what did I expect? The national parks are horrendously under-funded, and even if I could get a job at one, it would almost certainly involve seasonal transfers and a low-paying salary.)

Fourthly, the major is fairly demanding; it's quite hard to combine with German as a full double major, and it's also challenging to plan my credits around a semester/year abroad. This is probably the least important factor, but yeah, it's there.

So what now? :o After considering English, History, pure German, Linguistics, and Journalism, I think I've narrowed it down to Linguistics & English. I really liked the Journalism idea, but my parents are just too adamantly against it... they seemed unlikely to give ground.

Now tis time for a pro/con list.

+ 'tis really interesting
+ it's conducive to study in Europe
+ I'd get to learn another language!
+ for unknown reasons, it seems to appeal to my mother more than English
+ it combines exceptionally well with German
+ it's a serious, challenging major; I'd learn a great deal
+ it'd make me more like Tolkien, yaaay
+ it might land me a job as literary or technical translator, which would be fun
+ my mum's opinions aside, it actually seems less versatile and practical than English... what do linguistics majors really do?
+ the college is small and has no alumni center to answer questions like the above :(
+ some of the phonology stuff looks boring
+ amn't actually sure if I'm good enough at languages to make a career out of them...

Surely there are more cons than that, heh? Hmm. Well, onto English.

+ 'tis also interesting
+ I'd have a friend! (Heather is an English major at UIUC, and I miss her witty remarks in Conway's class)
+ I'd get to read lots of fascinating books/poetry/literature
+ it's easy enough that a double major and a year in Europe would be no problem
+ it's versatile – could go on towards teaching, journalism, editing, publishing, higher education, or freelance writing, depending on the interests that are sparked during the next four years
+ I know I'm good at it...
+ the college is large and offers a broad variety of choices as far as requirements go
- Cons -
+ my mum is more strenuously against this one
+ over-analyzing great literature sometimes kills the story; it might end up really boring and tedious :(
+ less possibilities in Europe (maybe?)
+ Mark was an English major, ewww

That's about it, I guess... in order to make all this stuff happen, I need to email/note some knowledgeable peers (Heather for the English, Jenny and Tim for the linguistics) as well as the advisors at UIUC. And I need to change my schedule slightly if I am ever resolved/allowed to do a switch.


...but the decision is still mine in the end, isn't it? :/ Damn. 'Tis frustrating, and I don't like pushing so hard against my parents... that independence bit, it's the very reason I dreamed of college and wove it into such a castle in the sky, but it's still rather elusive, heh. No one in my family seems willing to acknowledge that I do consider practical aspects. I know I'm not perfect, but everyone requires some autonomy to make their own mistakes, and I've rarely had the chance for that. It gets... yeah, really frustrating. I need to push away and prove myself, but at the same time, their approval rests on submissive behaviors: acquiescing to their guidance, fitting their parameters of good behavior, being the sweet child-like Angie they've always known. I want to do both - no, seriously, I do; I want to be a good daughter, and I like hugging and pleasing and spending time with them. But perhaps that feeds something which needs to be abandoned now? I can't be like Ken... this weaning will be rather more extreme, because they don't know all of me, and never have.

I think there's a poem or two in that paragraph of angst, aye? ;) Anyway, it's a good excuse to use a certain icon.

Hmm, I might be too tired for this now... but not if I play “Ace of Base – The Sign!” Yaaay, hyper music!

A quick recap of recent events~

+ I hung out with Clover for a few hours. That was two weeks ago now, but she gave me a tiny music box that plays Fur Elise - which was a really sweet choice, since the song has special memories of friendship for us. We talked about Nelly Furtado and Timberlake and psychology and university and cats. Most importantly, we sorted her underwear. Good times.

+ Ken's birthday. :o I got him the new Zelda game, which he seemed to like. For supper, we ate at the Irish restaurant... the one with lovely, long-legged hostesses and handsome Celtic warriors masquerading as waiters. Meanwhile, Ken had a pint of Guinness (he's 21!), but they didn't even card him. Such a shame. :(

+ We went to the midnight service on Christmas Eve, and it was very beautiful. Cate really outdid herself with the choir this year. The music was absolutely fantastic. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being slow, dirge-like Catholic hymns, that was a 14. And Cate herself was beautiful; she had a skimpy black dress and pretttty shoes with flamboyant red ribbons.

Rita did the sermon, so it wasn't at all sanctimonious or painful. Just simple and warm-hearted, based around How The Grinch Stole Christmas, my favoritest childhood Christmas story.

+ Christmas Day was the usual, only a bit more mellow and low-key this year. We woke up late (8:40 = late), ate cinnamon rolls, looked in our stockings, and opened presents. I got a pony! <33333 It's so cute, and it makes noises when I hug it. :D ...that's actually kind of creepy, though; at night, I'll be snuggling it, and then I'll roll over, and it'll squeal and neigh, startling me out of dreamland and leaving me all dazed and disoriented. Anyway, we had a yummy supper of pork chops, and then I talked to Paul on the phone for a good while. <3 He was so cute when I showed him the pony noises. :p (“...Oh my.”)

Finally I tagged along to the family party at Jill's house, where her mum was entirely too nice to me, and her cousins struck up a fairly entertaining fight over the Nintendo Wii's motion-sensing (or not!?) technology.

+ Then I saw Kitty and gave her belated gifts. That was a really fun evening; hanging out with her felt natural and relaxed, so maybe 'm learning how to have friends again. We talked and cried and giggled and laughed and sang. She gave me the new t.A.T.u. CD, which is awesome, and we concluded that we're going to start a rock band. 's'right! Am doing German/back-up vocals and keyboard; she's main vocals, and I've recruited Paul for male vocals/recorder. :D

+ Lastly, Kez came over for New Year's. Annnd she gets jilted because I'm really tired by this point. But oh well; she made an entry over at vkittah... basically we watched The Road to El Dorado, created & consumed homemade pizza, played with my paints and did ADD-type scrawlings on a canvas, and viewed POTC II straight through midnight. HAPPY 2007 YAY. I skipped my rum tradition this year and was just the sliiiightest bit tipsy (much like my boyfriend, who was rather entertaining in that state <3). In the morning, we were very lazy, and my parents were gay. The end.

I still have tons to do tonight, lol... oh well, best get started. Yay long entry, tis good to be caught up to the new year.
Current Location: home :o
Stimme: sleepyasleep
Musik: ace of base - the siiign
mandieflamingphoenix5 on January 3rd, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
Hihi^_^ Happy New Years!

A note on majors, I have. I'm kinda in the same situation (even though I'm not in college yet XP). Though I'm not as close with my parents as you seem to be with yours, I'm deathly afraid of disappointing them. I'm accepted at ISU as a History Education major, but I'm reconsidering. I think it'd be really fun and more me to be in broadcasting or communications of some sort, but they think it's impractical, and are pretty against it. I say, to hell with parents! Do what YOU love, 'cos you're gonna be the one doing the job, not them. Even though it doesn't make as much money as a teacher, I'd much rather do something I know I'll have fun doing than be bored in a good paying job.

Hope that helped a bit ^__^
things are fine and they're gonna get much finerzeeb on January 3rd, 2007 10:00 am (UTC)
Happy New Year, yuschipoos :D *hug*

I'm amused at you not expecting anyone to read the whole thing; I must say that you are one of the few people on LJ (on my friend's list at least) whose entries I always read and pretty much always find interesting (even the memes sometimes, which is saying something ;)) and I'm sure many other people reading your journal think the same. You have a very engaging online persona, my dear, which isn't easy to achieve.

As for the studying stuff, I couldn't agree more with the person above with the advice to do what you love. Don't be put off something because you're not sure you'll be good enough at it as long as you have the drive to keep trying at it even when it gets tough. If your current major is difficult and you're not really that bothered about it, it's quite likely that it's just going to get harder and not help with the depression and could turn into a bit of a vicious cycle. That being said if you are willing to persevere with it then it could be worth it - it depends a bit on what you find the most satisfying, doing well in something you really love or doing well in something that you don't like quite so much and is therefore possibly more of a challenge.

To be honest, I wouldn't worry too much about job prospects. Of course it has to be a consideration to some extent but life has a very funny way of just happening to you - I graduated this year and am just in the process of getting a permanent job at the place I worked at over the summer which is a really great opportunity for me but is in an area that I would never have thought about going into if I'd been looking for jobs, if you see what I mean. The best thing about jobs though is that you can leave them if it turns out they're not right for you. I had very little idea what I wanted to do, or more importantly what I really *didn't* want to do in a job before I'd had a couple of different ones - I'm not trying to be patronising here, but it's very important to know that after you graduate *then* quite a lot of the important learning begins. A lot of the time it's a cliche and really is who you know rather than what you know - but even if you know the best people, if you can't show how intelligent, dedicated, enthusiastic etc. about things you are then those contacts aren't much use - I guess it could be argued that these qualities will come out the best when you're doing something you love. You never know where you might end up.

As for English vs Linguistics, I'm completely bias towards Linguistics because as you say I found English just ruins books and whatnot and also I studied Computer Science with Psychology at Uni which are both kinda related :P English also strikes me as something it's easier to learn yourself - I'm sure I've heard more than one author say if you want to be a good writer, read a lot :P and also Linguistics seems to relate to more areas of life than does English so seems to me the more versatile of the two :D

With your parents I'd think that as long as you show them a logical argument why you think you should do something, they'd be amenable...but then I don't know your parents :P

I'm sure you know most of the stuff I've been waffling on about but sometimes it can help hearing it in different words. Also, I'm doing some boring stuff at work at the moment and so doing something else for a bit is always welcome ;)

Much <3
tinerfetinerfe on January 3rd, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
only going to comment on one thing, as we've talked about pretty much all of this. :P

"+ amn't actually sure if I'm good enough at languages to make a career out of them..."


The rainbringer: love and dreams by chibuniyuschi on January 4th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
Re: Okay...
Indeed we have... part of the reason I stopped updating my livejournal regularly was 'cos I found someone who will always listen to me, and who always receives my stories, so that I don't really need to post them. :p

And lol, thanks, I know 'tis sarcastic, but that means a great deal coming from you, love. For once I'll be good and trust your opinion, since tis a well-founded one in this case (not that it isn't usually... but... yeah, when 'tis about me, generally I assume that I've lots of flaws you can't see and all). :P Thanks. :)
Kez Dispenservanillahaku on January 4th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)

not that i have anything intelligent to say in the end! :D

when you come back i'll have been infested with ASIAN GIRL. D:

but anyway, picking a major sucks. it feels like no matter what you do, you're going to get bored or have a hard time. the world, in general, is a jerk. i sometimes wonder if my brain is capable of holding all the things i'll learn majoring in psychology, knowing my familial history isn't the best in the memory department. not to mention i have my OWN psychological junk to try and overcome. it's madness, madnessssss~ i really can't help you pick, i'll just say that linguistics is probably the bad one since you can really not do much with it at all. i'd disguise journalism with something else and plan your way into it.

have you ever thought about doing web design commissions, aside that? you don't really need to major to do so, i think you might be able to get some good side jobs with that in any case. not much in the way of majors... unless you want to do that for a living, heh.
Bradbeenrad on January 4th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
Wow. That is quite the long post. I usually don't read really really long posts (because I'm lazy and a slow reader), but you kept teasing me with bits of inner Angie, so I had to keep going :P

Also, you lied. Your complaining on LJ didn't annoy me at all *nod*

As for majors... I'm somewhat of a bum, and thus have no experience upon which to draw from for advice. That being said, I say you should just do what makes you happy. A long life making lots of money, but being completely unhappy may be what the American Dream has become, but I don't see it as worth it. Personally, I'd rather be dirt poor and happy when depression hasn't kicked in than a well-off automaton.

Lastly *hugs* You have fun, dear :)