Monday, November 18, 2013

Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance

The 7 P's. That is a key strategy to be used with athletes in preparing for competition. How do I know this? I am preparing for my three exams in December, one of which is Sports Psychology. But it is also an old and trusted maxim of Dad's from his Army days.

So what's been happening in Fi's world?

Well apart from preparing for three exams for PSYC122 (Foundations), PSYC123 (Statistics) and PSYC116 (Sports Psychology), I went to Sydney yesterday to help Caleb celebrate his 8th birthday!

The kids had come to Sydney (with Steve and Bec of course) for an RPA allergy clinic appointment and I met up with them at Darling Harbour for presents and dinner last night. It was a lovely couple of hours and Caleb is now desperately counting down the days until school holidays until he sees me again and can use is Nintendo 3DS for his new DS games - Lego Chima and Moshling Park. I suspect he's looking forward to his DS more than he is me :)

I have casual work coming up next week which will help with Christmas! It involves cleaning all of the student rooms at Marketview so that we can open 3 of our 4 floors for the hotel season over summer session.

And then there's my potential new work with a local mental health hospital running music therapy programs. They are still in discussion regarding timing and the structure of the existing program but they are keen to add music therapy into the program so I am waiting in excitement to find out if/when/how and so on!

And if you ever wondered what university students get up to when they have too much time on their hands, consider below:

Yes, that is a toothbrush, toothpaste, chapstick, stapler and random change all set in jelly and stored in our floor's kitchen fridge a couple of weeks ago!

What fun we have!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ok, so it's been awhile...

But things are going reasonably well. What to say?

I got a distinction for my first semester subject PSYC121 Foundations of Psychology A

I am studying three subjects this semester

The kids came down for the September/October holidays

Caleb was especially difficult to capture on camera these holidays because he wouldn't hold still and smile at the same time!

So here's what's on my mind today:

           "Other research on the reconstructive nature of memory has demonstrated that the simple act of retelling a story can introduce inaccuracies into memory (Marsh, 2007). When people retell a story, they may streamline it, embellish the facts, exaggerate their role, and so forth. In such retellings, people may be aware that they are being a little loose with the facts (Marsh & Tversky, 2004). However, what is interesting is that their intentional distortions can reshape their subsequent recollections of the same events. Somehow, the “real” story and the storyteller’s “spin” on it probably begin to blend imperceptibly. So, even routine retellings of events can contribute to the malleability of memory." Weiten Psychology: Themes and  Versions 2014.

And here's my question:

If we know from research that memory can be inaccurate, how can we trust things that have been passed down from generation to generation by word? More specifically, the gospels weren't written by the disciples themselves. Apart from Luke, who history tends to favour as Paul's physician, we don't have any accounts of the gospel that are even second hand. How much of what we believe is actually accurate? Paul's letters, I will concede are exact documents, but the gospels in my mind are on shakier ground. There are some accounts that are repeated in the other gospels and so I am more confident with those, but if stories are changed in a retelling, if memory is affected so easily, how do we trust in the validity of the gospels?

Anyway, just a random thought going through my head as I prepare for a quiz on memory!

I hope this post finds you all well

Monday, July 22, 2013

Not too bad for a start...

Well, Autumn Session is over and Spring Session is on the horizon and getting closer! Pre-maths tutorials this week, classes start next week and we'll be back in full swing the following week with tutorials and pracs starting up!!

For PSYC121 Foundations of Psychology A, I got a Distinction. It was a 75. Going into the exam I was sitting on 84 - just one shy of a HD but the exam levelled out my marks a little. Still, it does make me wonder what I could have achieved if I hadn't spent the last four weeks prior to the exam in hospital. Yep, the good ole Bipolar ship took a dive around mid-May which was OK, because it was after all of my assignments had been handed in and I only had the exam left, but I am sure I didn't study as effectively as i could have, especially since I didn't have access to my computer. But I am certainly not going to turn my nose up at a D. Not too bad for a start. And I can now officially say that I have completed my first university subject since 1999!

This semester the pace is going to pick up a little. I am enrolled in three subjects. PSYC122 Foundations of Psychology B, PSYC123 Statistics and PSYC116 Psychology of Health and Activity. Three is alot, I know, especially considering that I only completed one last session but the theory behind the madness is that if I can cope with 3, it will prove that I am capable of pulling off a full-time load and if I cannot cope, I will just drop back to two before the HECS census date.

So fingers crossed. Take a deep breath and HERE WE GO!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In Summing Up

The last two weeks have been hairy. I am not going to deny it. See the thing is with suicide, nobody wants you to talk about it because it might make someone feel uncomfortable. But what happens if suicidality is the disease you live with? What if your days and weeks and months are eclipsed by the spectre that is suicide?

That is the reality of the Borderline Personality Disorder sufferer.

Some people say it gets easier. Some people say that it will go away. I have battled with it for 6 years now and it is not going away anytime soon. Nor does it get any easier. Surely tools will help? Sometimes. But sometimes it involves you lying in a fetal position on your bed willing yourself not to get up. Not to take those pills.

I am sorry that I may be making people feel uncomfortable by blogging about this but the truth is, it is a part of my life. Not a nice, happy part of my life (everybody loves those moments) but still, a part of my life.

I've hit a rut. Uni is not diverting my attention from my disorder in the way that I hoped that it would. Phil says that I am suffering from first-year angst. And I get it. Now.... It took four hours waiting in emergency to be told that there was no bed for me to keep me safe, before it finally sunk in. But it has. For now.

Uni is great. I am loving where I live. I am loving what I do. But this assessment task that I am preparing for threw me for six. I have discovered that I am not as smart as the average psychologist. That this is going to be an uphill battle. That I am going to have to work hard for my marks.

That was a shock. I really honestly thought that I would fly through this degree. Not so.

So this is where the rubber hits the road and that I have to put my axe to the grindstone, my nose to the wheel (why do you put your nose to a wheel?). But tonight for the first time in my entire struggle I found solace.

Tonight in Biblestudy we looked at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The study was on suffering. Why does God allow suffering? I thought I had that one down in spades and then something caught my eye.

34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” (Mark 14:9)

Do you see that? Right there? When people have told me in the past that Jesus has gone before me I have internally rolled my eyes. What does Jesus know of my suffering? He lived a perfect life and yes he suffered physically... but Jesus never went mad.

Not so.... "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" Could it be? Did Jesus really suffer mentally? Was his suffering so great that he was looking for a way out? To the point of death?

I can't promise that I have miraculously turned a corner and that everything will be fine and dandy from here on in but I know that Jesus really did walk the path that I have worn into the ground. He HAS suffered the way I have. And lived through it. (Not long admittedly but the key is He wasn't defeated at this point!)

And maybe that's enough.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Its been a while but I have finally returned to the theatre. This time I am not onstage but behind the scenes as a stage hand. It has been fantastic just being in the theatre again. I love the feelings I have when I step off the street and into the lobby of the theatre, let alone behind the proscenium arch! Well, actually, at the Workshop Theatre, there isn't actually a proscenium arch, but you get my drift.

The show I am working on at the moment is a 1950s Cabaret show with a range of impersonators and a few comedy sketches mixed in to add to the entertainment value. I am onstage briefly for one sketch and for the duration of another sketch but in the role of "stage hand" so there's not really all that much acting involved.

The people are lovely and there is a possibility that I might be backstage again in April for the Workshop's upcoming production of I Am Shakespeare.

Its funny how theatre seems to be a natural extension of myself. Whether I am backstage or onstage, I just naturally know what to do and where to be. Emma and I (the other stage hand) work really well together and we have barely done two rehearsals together. There just seems to be a natural rhythm to the show.

So here's me for the next two weeks. Balancing uni and the theatre. Although its not really that much of a balancing act. Uni is my life and my passion and theatre is my downtime and as long as I keep that in perspective, I don't mind if I do!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Changing up gears

OK. So the blog has been a little quiet. Nothing to worry about, its just that my life has been quiet in the lead-up to uni.

The kids came down for a week in January and it was a lovely time, albeit a little stressful. It never ceases to amaze me how much introducing three much loved kids into a usually quiet life can be akin to meeting a whirlwind! But we had fun at the pool and at the movies, and hanging out at home with craft activities. I am looking forward again to the April holidays although Caleb was a little disappointed that Easter does not coincide with the school holidays this year which means that they will miss out on the Royal Easter Show.

So what followed my beautiful mini's whirlwind visit was a period of about six weeks of almost nothingness. There is only so much knitting and TV one can handle and I think I fell into a bit of a pre-Uni funk. I got cold feet about going to Canberra after realising just how far away it is from my existing support networks and my family. I didn't want to fall over in Canberra and not be near someone who loved me fiercely.

So I made some enquiries and discovered that my Offer of Enrolment at the University of Wollongong was still current. To this day I totally believe that it is where I am meant to be. I got in touch fairly early with the Disabilities Officer who was fantastic with helping me find accomodation and sorting out my uni arrangements for 2013. I was offered a place at Marketview which is in the heart of the city. It is close to everything and just a quick bus ride down to uni which has everything else that I need that the city doesn't already offer.

I moved into Marketview a week ago and I am loving it here. I have my own room with ensuite, queen size bed, fridge, desk, chair, internet. There is a communal kitchen down the hallway and a hang-out space in the foyer of the college. We even have a coffee shop in the foyer so it is a great place to catch up with friends. While I don't quite fit the demograph of most of the college students (I am older by at least 7-8 years from the oldest resident) the students are warm and welcoming. I am not much of a party-er like alot of the younger students are, but my room is on the top floor with the mature-age and postgraduate students. I mostly hang out in my room while I am home but I love to go down to the foyer with a book in hand and just "be" with the other students coming and going around me.

This week coming up is O-Week and it is going to be great. I have been put on as a student Team Leader with the Centre for Student Engagement. So that basically means that I get to help with the UniCentre social events and I am also the Fundraising Co-ordinator for the S4S Gala Dinner which is part of our S4S (Students 4 Students) Leadership Conference in September. There is so much to do at uni my mind is boggling! I think it is going to be a case of choosing what NOT to do rather than choosing what to do! Again, the staff at the CSE are fantastic and I feel very much at home in their company.

On top of the O-Week events that I will be volunteering at next week, I currently have a short-term job working for the University for a week in the Mature Age and Postgraduate Programme, calling all of the first year Mature age and Postgrad students to orientate them to the university (well, I don't personally call all of them - I have a portfolio of people to call!) It is a fun  job and the pay is great. It is certainly a shame that it only lasts a week!

So that's me to the present time! I hope that this post finds you all well and living rich and fulfilling lives

Love you all