The Altar of Comps

A typical day in Comps study land.  Things in italics are thought.

9:00 AM: Alarm goes off.  Ugh… I’m so tired… why do I have to get up?  I should check my phone.

9:05 AM: How can I possibly have so many e-mails just from overnight?

9:30 AM: I should stop surfing pinterest and facebook and get to work…

10:00 AM: Do I want coffee or a latte? …maybe I want both…

10:30 AM: Okay, I’m going to start with this book, then a chapter from Brockett, then I’ll review notes from yesterday, then I’ll read these two plays.  I don’t think I’ll have time for a run though… whatever, I’ll do a run tomorrow.

11:45 AM: Why, god, why, what am I doing and why am I doing it and are my eyes bleeding?  I need more coffee… Maybe I should go for a run.

12:45 PM: I want lunch… I should eat something… I hope there’s something to eat in the fridge.

1:00 PM: I should do my laundry…

1:30 PM: There’s no way, NO WAY that I’m going to get all of this done.  Not a chance in hell.  Why do I always do this to myself?

2:00 PM: What are my plan tonight?  Okay, if I push through I can probably maybe do

a shot I took of the library at Hammond Castle... it'd be much easier to work here, I think

a shot I took of the library at Hammond Castle… it’d be much easier to work here, I think

more work… no way I’m going for a run today.

3:00 PM: Brain is full, I’m going for a run.

4:15 PM: Cleaned and endorphins pumping, I sit back down to work.  Man I feel pretty good, I can probably push through and do everything I said I was going to do today…

5:00 PM: Okay, if I tack another hour onto my workday I can do everything I meant to do…

5:30 PM: Brain full, I’ll just throw on a documentary…

7:00 PM: Drooling on the couch.  I am comatose.

8:30 PM: God I did so much today… I should call someone to talk about all the stuff I learned!

8:45 PM: My roommate doesn’t understand why any of this is important, or the sheer scope of what I did today… maybe I should find someone to talk to who actually does get this.

9:30 PM: Either I’m going out, or staying in.  If I go out, I have to put on pants.  But then I’ll be able to sleep and not think about the difference between theatre in the Roman Republic and theatre in the Roman Empire…

11:30 PM: In bed, I begin to quiz myself about said differences.

Sometime in the night: I have a dream that’s some sort of fantasy remix of random thoughts flipping through my head.

…wake up, do it again.

Just don’t expect much from me this summer.  I’m sacrificing my all at the altar of comps.

The Warm-up

This is a drive-by to let you know that I’m not dead.

I wish I could say many things; aphorisms about how hard I’ve been working this week, comforting thoughts about how I’m nearing the end, or really just something poignant about the process I’m going through right now.

Unfortunately, they would all be lies.

The process is only beginning.  I’m just dipping my toes into the ocean that is studying for comps.  I’ve been working hard, but it’s only a warm-up for the big leagues that are ever so steadily coming my way this summer.

For that, this warm-up period is important.  You can never, ever, throw yourself into the

This was the amusing thing that happened yesterday when my comps pile for the day caved in on itself.

This was the amusing thing that happened yesterday when my comps pile for the day caved in on itself.

deep end and expect to swim when you’re plumb exhausted.  I took a break, but quickly found that that break wasn’t enough.  A good friend reminded me that fatigue is cumulative and yes, I just achieved an enormous step in this whole “becoming a Doctor” process (even though the next mountain is about twice as high and infested with Yetis) it’s no wonder I’m so damned tired.  Giving into this sometimes is only going to help me in the long run and I can study during the intervals between naptime, so long as I keep naptime under control.  In other words:    warming my brain back up to the idea of working is an important step.

It’s not pleasant.  I would liken it to those first few days at the gym pushing yourself into a brand new workout regime: i’s sweaty, uncomfortable, and no matter how good you know it is for you, you never want to go do it.  You wake up exhausted and sore the next day with only the knowledge that, in order to achieve your goals, you must do it again.  And again.  And again.

So I’m hitting it.  I’m holding myself to deadlines, I’m withholding the appropriate bribery forms (often times I have to physically walk away from my desk to keep myself from messing around on the internet instead of reading Greek tragedy), I’m keeping a proper scheduling (SCHEDULING IS IMPORTANT!  Nothing creates burnout like too much work crammed into an undoable amount of time!), and I’m making sure I eat and exercise regularly.

For that, I’m tired.  I’m stressed.  And I don’t see it getting better anytime soon.

This summer is just going to be another exercise in staying in the red and finding the energy.  But you know what?  Sometimes, you just have to get it together and muscle through.

If you need me, I’ll be buried under this pile of books for the next few months.  Don’t mind the occasional bouts of cursing, snoring, or drooling.