Concentration Catastrophe

 I have suffered from a short concentration span my entire life. I am unable to focus for prolonged periods of time and my mind goes foggy on a regular basis, particularly when I’m talked to directly. The situation is aggravated when I’m stressed or under pressure, because it leads to physical symptoms. I am currently experiencing these physical symptoms; i.e. I have a migraine.

 It is highly unpleasant when you’re trying to work, even worse when you are required to work, but are incapable of performing your tasks because your mind is shutting down. It becomes exceedingly frustration when the more you try to concentrate the more difficult it is to succeed. As the pain descends from my brain to my eyes, my eyelids start drooping and I slowly loose the battle against my mind. While one might blame such a situation on sleep deprivation, the truth has more to do with lack of concentration. 

Even though distractions contribute negatively to my situation, they are sometimes required to ease it. Remaining seated for a long time is usually exhausting, for it forces me to focus on a single task. A notion I find tedious if not excruciating. There are very few occasions where I can stay seated and remain attentive, unfortunately these occasions almost never take place at work/school. As a result I wander around with less than half of a focused mind, while the rest strolls in daydream-land. 

Ranting X (Summer Heat)

This post is literally about the heat wave we have today in Cairo. It is over 45 degrees Celsius and I feel faint. The weather is dry and dusty and I can barely breath. I can’t wait to go home. The day is ending soon, so is this week! I want to sleep in air conditioning, that is the only thing I need right this second. Two and a half more weeks and the year will be over. Summer Vacation!!

The weather is intolerable. You’d think I hadn’t lived here my whole life; I’m speaking as I have never witnessed summer in Cairo. But it’s getter worse. People have been celebrating since last night, after the results of the presidential elections were announced. I’m not optimistic. People think the new  president is our savior, but skeptical. I won’t believe the speeches and promises until I see actual results. For three and a half years people have been doing nothing but talking!

Anyway back to the weather. I would love a pool. Swimming is my favorite summer activity, which I get very little of. There’s nothing more refreshing than feeling the cool water against your  hot skin. Actually I would prefer the beach. The sea is far more beautiful than any pool.

I have to go though. I might discuss this topic more later, or not.

Ranting IX

Today is Parent’s Day at work, which means I literally have no work to do. I work as a teaching assistant for Year 6. Not the best job in the world, but certainly better than most other jobs. I love the kids I work with and I want to kill some of them simultaneously, the teachers are sweet, I have a ton of vacations and I get home at a decent hour. So all in all not bad. That being said, I’m very BORED right now! So far I’m spending my day between chatting with some of the teachers, when they aren’t talking to parents, roaming around and sitting on the computer. It’s going to be a long, dull day, but I expected that.

 

I’m looking forward to this weekend; I’m doing MUN with my sister. She has a shortage in delegates and I’m experienced and really miss it. For anyone who doesn’t know what MUN is, it stands for Model United Nations. And it entails constructing a miniature version of several UN councils. After discussing certain topics for several weeks, the members are assigned delegations. They pose as representatives of their assigned countries during the conference, debate the topics and present a formally written resolutions in the end. As a whole the experience enhances one’s research and public speaking skills. Plus you learn a lot about current world issues and get to dress up in formal wear.

 

Once again, I AM BORED!!!!!

Ranting VIII

I had the best last day of classes yesterday. We had a small party during my writing class, where we each read something from our work and then took pictures; best farewell ever. Our professor actually cried, because the class was ending. Honestly that was the best class I’ve ever taken over the past four years! My last class as an undergraduate student was Law & Development. The class itself was boring, but we got to say goodbye to each other and to our professor, whose moving to Australia.

Today I’m submitting my Art portfolio. I lost the painting I was working on this morning, on the street. I’m not torn up about it, but still it sucks. I’m supposed to be working on my political science take-home final right now, but I honestly don’t feel like it. So as usual I’m doing this instead.

It felt incredible to hold a hard-copy of my manuscript in my hand, yesterday. This inexplicable sense of accomplishment came over me. I was so proud of myself. I couldn’t believe that in less than four months, I managed to write and edit 55 pages (single-spaced). I’m hoping to finish that story. I might post bits and pieces of it. Anyway that’s all for now, because I really need to work.

Countdown: 2 down, 2 to go

Ranting VII

Only one more week until I’m done. I finished my first final on Sunday, thankfully it wasn’t bad. I had fun studying for it with my friend, while IMing another friend. You’d think it would be distracting, but honestly it was the only way I could’ve actually made it through the material. International Law and Development is one of the most boring subjects I’ve ever had to endure, and believe me I’ve taken a few shitty classes over the years.

For this week I have to write a response paper on Foucault (Due Thursday), a two part take-home exam on several theorists (Due next Wednesday, God help me), finalize my art portfolio and edit 55 pages for my writing project. I really need to plan the next couple of days perfectly, so I can get everything done on time and well, hopefully. Anyway that’s all for now, cause I have to start working.

Countdown: 1 down, 3 to go

Ranting VI

Good morning all. Finals are coming up and I am truly overwhelmed. This is my last semester ever, graduation is in a month and I really need to get my act together. I went to campus to study yesterday and ended up spending the day with my friend at the dorms. We watched movies, chatted and made jokes all day. One of the reasons we didn’t study was because there was a power-out every other hour, so the internet was really working much. There were plumbing problems at the dorms which were also a huge distraction. But most importantly we just didn’t want to work.

Now let me tell you about the catastrophic work-load I have for the next two weeks. I have two 1,000 word papers for tomorrow, neither of which I’ve started, and one for next week. Individually a thousand word paper is not a lot but three of them are. I have a comprehensive final on Sunday, which I haven’t started studying for and a take-home final that I know nothing about. I need to edit 55 pages single-spaced for my final writing project, which I’ve been working on all semester, and an art project. So I’m totally fucked!

Did I mention that our graduation photos are the day after tomorrow, so in the middle of all this I have to worry about looking pretty! The timing at this university is appalling, honestly. I wasn’t bad enough that spring break ended a week before finals, no, now we have to worry about trivial issues in the middle of finals week. I’m excited about the photos and everything, but they couldn’t have chosen a worse time if they tried.

Anyway that’s all for today; no more sleep till graduation but what are we going to do. C’est la vie!

Time to work on my paper; topic: Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man.

Ranting V

There are two types of stress in my life. One motivates me and gives me this rush that I need to finish my work just in time to meet my deadline. The other overwhelms me. This second type of stress quickly turns into a burden that is just too heavy. It weighs over me and becomes the only thing I can think of for days. I am currently feeling that burden. I have a paper due in seven hours, which I have barely started. It is coming to the point that I am no longer interested in even writing it. The paper is unfortunately worth 30% of my overall grade, and it will be overdue!!

The problem with the end of the semester in general is that you have an overwhelming amount of work in a very short period of time. Every semester it is the exact same way, for all students. The university doesn’t realize that it’s pointless to hold classes the week before finals, because it simply comes in the way of studying and writing research papers. Some professors also don’t understand that it is moronic to assign a substantial amount of work in the last two weeks of the semester. What’s worse, are professors who don’t assign nearly any work until the last week of the semester, when they know for a fact that students won’t have time to efficiently finish their work.  The professor, whose class’s paper is due in a few hours, is one of those. She missed more classes than she attended, I don’t think she taught us anything all semester, she is uninterested in the course and she doesn’t give any guidance or feedback on our work.  Therefore I portray the same indifferent attitude towards her class as she does. I believe that is the responsibility of the professor to make the students interested in the class, if not one can very easily lose interest in the class. Anyway whether I’m interested in the class or not is irrelevant at this point because I need to start working on this paper asap. Even though when my work is overdue I feel less inclined to finish it, no sure why, unfortunately in this case it is not an option at all!!

Now that it all out, I think I can actually start working (even though I’ve been saying that for about the past  seven hours).

Ranting IV

I’m exhausted and what’s worse I’m really annoyed. I’ve only had three hours of sleep. I’ve had two cups of cappuccino in three hours. Since I started college I’ve learned to work under pressure, not only that I’ve also been able to work better under pressure. Even when I hadn’t slept in days or when I’d slept only for a few hours, I’m still able to spend the entire day on campus; working and attending classes. However what I can’t do, is work when I’m annoyed and/or in a crappy mood. This unfortunately is how I feel right now, like shit. I’ve been awake for seven hours. It’s true I was able to get some work done before I get to campus, however now I’m just not interested.

It’s the worst feeling in the world for me, to lose interest in what you have to do. It makes accomplishing anything virtually impossible. I have an Egyptian law project due in a week and I haven’t begun researching the topic. I enjoy doing research, which many people I know find to be a horrifyingly excruciating task. But when I have to translate laws from Arabic to English, the research processes starts to seem far less appealing; first because, ironically, my knowledge of Arabic is not that good, and second because I find translation to be a dreary, time-consuming process.

In addition to this project, which I find to be a pain in my ass along with the class itself, I have half a book to finish in four days, and assignment due tomorrow and a reaction paper to write. Even though I know I will eventually get all this work done on time one way or the other, it still better to complain about it out loud than give myself a migraine worrying about it all. That being said I need to get going, because I have a lecture to attend in 20 minutes on the other side of campus and wouldn’t want to be late.

Ranting III

I’ve been up since before 1:00 am to study, but as usual I’m procrastinating. I have a quiz, a midterm and a proposal in one day. In fact this all has to be done before 3:00 pm. What I have done so far is close to nothing. I skimmed through my reading for the midterm, I haven’t started studying for my quiz and I have no idea what to write in the proposal. I have one hour before I need to jump in the shower, get dressed and leave. And instead of working I’m blogging and browsing the internet.

My midterm is on International Relations in the Middle East which sounds more interesting than in actually is. It’s very theoretical, which I detest. Theories are annoying, people just come up with these random notions about what’s going on in the world and they’re rarely applied, honest to God I don’t know why they bother themselves or better yet why should we be bothered. The quiz is for my sociology class (Social Problems in the Middle East). Don’t really know what’s on it but, I think it has to do with poverty; a lot of Middle Eastern issues today. I don’t know what to do, plus I just wasted an hour doing absolutely NOTHING!!!!

That being said I have to go.

End of the Semester (Terrorism)

I’m suffering from a severe migraine right now and I’m starving but there’s nothing to eat and I kind of spent most of my money; not to mention I missed the bus.  So I’ve decided to write this entry because the alternative, writing my history paper, is painful to even think about when I haven’t slept. I slept a total of about 5 hours in the past 48 hours, which isn’t abnormal for me but it’s fucking exhausting.

Today I finished my second, and final, final exam. It was introduction to mass communication, which I studied for this morning, but it was pretty straight forward so I didn’t have a problem with it. Yesterday I submitted my rhetoric portfolio, which contained every draft of every piece of writing we’ve done from the beginning of the semester. By submitting this complete body of work, I felt this sense of accomplishment; like it was all worth it in the end. I wrote the first and second draft of my final paper the night before and the book review, on a book I hadn’t even read, the next morning. This just proves that I am able to get my shit done on time, regardless of how or when it’s done.

But all of this isn’t entirely relevant to the topic of this entry. My final history class was yesterday, which I’m really sad is over. I really enjoyed that class, plus the professor is awesome. However I still need to write a 4,000 word paper for this class; comparing two types of terrorism in Europe one from the 19th century and the other from the 20th or the 21st century. The topic is quite interesting as was the course. So what I’ve done today was look for books on Russian anarchists and state sponsored terrorism in the library. Because what I’ll probably do is compare the tactics of the Russian anarchists to Stalin’s tactics during his rule of the USSR.

I realized that this would be my sixth paper on terrorism or a terrorism related topic. For some reason I find it to be very interesting. I attempted to write a paper about democracy once, got bored out of my mind, and ended up changing the topic to tyranny. What I also realized is that Poli-Sci majors have the capacity as well as the right to joke about terrorism. Because after all when you research the topic as often as I have you are allowed to joke about dating Hitler or Stalin or both. I realize that murders, dictators, tyranny and totalitarian regimes are not a joke, but unless you put a humorous spin to it, it will totally fuck you up. Believe me just trying to imagine how anyone can be that vicious is disturbing. So imagine watching a video about concentration camps, which was quite graphic I might add, at three in the morning*. Anyway putting aside the fact that political science completely screws with your brain sometimes, I’m really looking forward to researching this topic. Not entirely looking forward to writing such a long paper though, but I’d like to see how it will turn out.

*Had to write a paper on concentration camps for a previous history class, with the same professor, while using Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical novel Night (which is inclredible) as a primary source. When doing my research I came across an interview with the author on Oprah in Auschwitz. The video included pictures and clips of former prisoners during their time in the camp as well as hundreds of corpses. Good stuff! And there is no better time to watch it than at 3:00 am.