Life
Sat, March 12th 2005 @ 11:21 AM – Uber-update again
PROCRASTINATOR ALERT -- long post ahead...

Wow too much has happened since a week and a half ago. I'm not sure if I can even write down all that I've wanted to say since the last post, but I guess subheadings will help, even though I think each section segways to the next pretty well.
Let me preface the post with this – I have high expectations for what and how I should be doing things, and when I donít meet my own standards that Iíve set, thatís when things arenít so rosy (or should I say when things arenít so bright blue?) in TheBoompsyís life. So whenever you hear/see me down, itís usually not because someone else is causing me trouble other than myself.

Busy Student Retreat
Beginning last Sunday (March 6th), I participated in Sheilís Busy Student Retreat, which was actually organized by The Jesuits of Chicago. I was told that they offer the student retreat to universities in the area. Basically the retreat involves meeting with a spiritual director – a priest, nun, or a theology graduate student – once a day for about half an hour to reflect on life, as well as the assigned passages for that meeting. All in all, they request one hour of commitment per day, which is usually not too much for even a busy person.
The retreat lasted four days, and I must say that it was a very enlightening experience. Even though it was held during probably what I consider the worst time in terms of busy-ness, it was probably the best time in that many students need re-assurance of Godís presence in their lives during high-stress periods. Interestingly enough, the passage that struck me the most was assigned for the first meeting. I quote it below:

You Are Loved By God – Psalm 139

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise up:
You discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord,
You know it completely.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I plunge to the depths of despair, you are there to meet me.

If I take the wings of the morning and settle
at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Continue to search out my feelings and thoughts.
Deliver me from that which may hurt or destroy me,
And guide me along the paths of love and truth.

I was reading that assignment as I was semi-stressed last Monday on the way down to Chicago to do some video-interviews of my co-workers for my advertising group (see Advertising and Co-op below). I read the first bolded section and I actually teared up. It hit me right when I needed to be reminded that even though we abandon God so many times, he will be there, even at the ABSOLUTE lowest point that you can ever be. Itís seldom that I am moved to tears by a passage, but this will probably remain in my memory forever.

Co-op
I know I spoke last entry about reading the blogs of my co-workers and how it was just nice to catch up. When I went downtown last Monday, I did video interviews of two of them for my advertising class (see advertising below). It was the WEIRDEST feeling going back to the office after not being there for six months. It was weirder I guess by the fact that I was doing this unbeknownst by my boss (he doesnít arrive in the office till the afternoon). But anyway, just being downtown and taking the El made me miss the whole co-op experience again. Canít wait to start. But first I need to get a hold of my boss and get a couple of forms from him; otherwise I wonít get to start straight away (International Office/Immigration policy).

ResConning
So last Wednesday I interviewed to become a SrResCon next year, which works out well even though Iíll be co-oping in Winter. Sad to say I didnít get it, but Iíll still be making $9.00/hr removing spyware from peopleís computers. In retrospect, I could have made more of an impression during my interview – since Iím a humble person I tend to forget to mention things that are meant to impress employers. I was somewhat sad when I received the e-mail, but honestly, I think it was for the best. Some time ago (months perhaps? Maybe even last quarter), I distinctly remember praying to God about helping me concentrate on my studies, and I think this may be part of his answer (see Kaibigan below).

Advertising
I know Iíve talked about this class the most on TheBoompsy, but itís the only one that really deserves special mention. Some of you may know that our client was a mutual fund company. Anyway, there were six of us in the group and I probably knew the least about mutual funds out of everyone. Initially I felt so stupid because I wasnít able to contribute to the first few stages of the process, since it was heavily based on the financial stuff. But as time progressed, I was able to put my technological wizardry (as some people have called it) to good use and I had nerdy-fun at making the Photoshop mock-ups and a snazzy Flash banner (– that was a lot of fun). Two days ago was the group presentations, and despite being really unrehearsed on my section, the group did great, and I think the Ďjudgesí liked it. It was really great working with all you guys. Thanks for picking up my slack. I did end up having fun with this class after all, but it was a lot more work than I expected. Unfortunately, if the company ever decides to use any of the ideas from the students, we signed a waiver saying that none of it was our intellectual property =(.

Winter Academics
In general, I would say that this quarter has been the worst academically for me. In a couple of weeks Iíll know whether this will be reflected in my grades, but I can kinda sense the outcome already, unless I make the most of my finals week schedule. For some reason, even though I actually found my classes relatively interesting (last quarter was more interesting), the 1 PM start of each day really screwed me over in terms of scheduling. I didnít know how to handle when to do reading and problem sets, etc. At the start of the quarter I would go to SPAC with my roomy every other day at 7AM and come back 8ish, then I would tend to stay online for about 2-3 hours until I had to get ready for class. Because of that I decided not to go to SPAC any more to try and cut back on morning-time wasting.
For some reason, I never got into the swing of things as I had done in previous quarters here at NU. I was never able to set a time which I would dedicate to problem sets or catching up on reading. Eventually this backlog of studying accumulated to this really ugly great ball of stress till my self-titled semi-breakdown (see below). But even by midterm-season, I considered my academic life pretty bad already – even though I was motivated to do well in the midterms, I wasnít motivated to do any work for them. I guess those two kinda go hand-in-hand, but I just couldnít understand the un-motivation in me. I think starting then I became reliant on caffeine to keep me up, which helped for a while and allowed me to get my problem sets done and stuff. But in retrospect I think it was probably a bad decision since I would just tend to put off my work till the last minute, thinking that I COULD get it done while staying up all night. Baaaad choices. Thankfully, co-op will give me a study-break (which actually is quite bad because it really causes you not to want to study anymore), but hopefully next spring I will be forced to do well by my relative failure to get things done properly this quarter.

Undertones
I would say part of the reason why academics were pretty bad was because I just have more fun in my extra-curricular activities. Being a UTone this quarter was somewhat stressful (even though our new exec board was elected and this was a transition quarter, which definitely lifted some of my burdens). Just doing A Cappella stuff is so much more fun than doing work, so any opportunity I had to advance the group could be considered procrastinating with my schoolwork I guess. Optimizing our sheet music sounds like such a geeky pleasure, but it really is. Who else gets to save trees and ink and peopleís time, (albeit at the expense of your own time) all in one go?
Also, the recording sessions were fun, and itís great that the group is FINALLY getting a CD out. Fans, watch out for the CD release mini-concert at the end of Spring Quarter! But the sessions took a lot of time, thankfully they were earlier on in the quarter. I am actually excited for our concert on April 8-10 now! We finally got our whole set-list somewhat finalized, and people are starting to get pumped for the show. Thanks everyone for being so excited and getting to work on it. We bond best when weíre singing and learning music and preparing for stuff. Letís keep it that way and avoid down-times when weíre not really doing anything. I can guarantee if we stick to being busy A Cappella-wise, weíll create even stronger bonds within the group. Thanks for making the DM A Cappella concert a success too, and thanks for the Kaibigan people who came and supported us =)

Kaibigan
This group is awesome. There are not enough words to describe how much this group has molded my college experience. People donít really hear me raving too much about it, but I say thatís due to my ineloquence (is that a word? Word didnít underline it in red so I guess it is!). Recently Iíve just come to accept that I am not that great at communicating ideas and thoughts verbally, especially when they need to be heard.
To the outgoing exec board, you guys have made Kaibigan an even more important part of my life here. You put up with my tardiness and tendency to not get things done on time (my standards, not yours, say I was pretty bad at these). Itís been such a great pleasure working with you guys and being able to steer the groupís direction over the past year has been a great experience. As with the UTones the work I had to do also could be considered as procrastination of my schoolwork, but I always looked forward to doing them.
Elections for next yearís exec board were held last Monday, and – some of you know this, but a couple of weeks ago I wasnít even planning on running for exec – I couldnít have been happier with the results. Right before the elections, I saw the list of nominations on JoeGlassesí piece of paper and I really wanted to withdraw my nominations, since the reason why I ran in the first place was that I was worried (I think along with a bunch of old exec and some of the 5th-years) that there might not be enough interest in running for exec. When I saw the list I was glad that so many non-exec people wanted to join the ranks! Congratulations to Austin, Ness, Angela, Kevin, Chubbs, and Anton! Last year we had a similar turnover (only one former exec member was elected into the new one), and I think itís great that each year it seems that more and more of the group can get deeply involved in steering the group. You guys have an important role and responsibility ahead of you. Treasure it, for you have the ability to do great things. Yay! After elections most of us headed down to Clarkeís and we had a scrumptiously delicious dessert-meal. Ask Lesley about our maple-syrup-waffle-topped-with-a-scoop-of-vanillaÖ mmmmÖ So began my semi-stress week.

Breakdown
I feel weird calling it a breakdown, but in all honesty I felt like utter crap. I just had sooo much work that I had to do in so little time, and even as the deadlines approached, I was STILL nowhere near completing them. I had spent so much time on the Advertising presentation with my group that I just put off my other work – a Matlab assignment for the Butz class, a write-up of the 225 Burglar Alarm project, AND a 225 problem set. Humanly speaking, this was all possible, but seeing as Iím the slowest person ever when it comes to schoolwork, this was not possible. I had already taken a dose of caffeine at around 2 AM which helped to keep me energized, but it didnít really help me get things done faster. By 4:30ish I had completed one of the three tasks. I then went back to my room and took a half hour nap, then started working on the Burglar Alarm project. My circuit crapped out on me – one of the transistors, to be exact; you who take 225 know my pain. By 9ish I went to Tech to grab replacement transistors. So all the experimental work was done by 9:30ish, but I still had analysis work to do for the project, which I never completed since for some reason the numbers just werenít working for me. It was around 1 PM when I decided I would just turn in what I had. I wasnít even gonna bother doing the final problem set, because by this point I had gone totally bonkers, literally pulling at my hair and angry at myself for once again not meeting my expectations of getting things done sooner. I even had a class at 2 PM which I decided to skip for my sanity. During this time I sent what I called Ďhelpí e-mails to Dolly and Kathleen to say that would not be making appearances to things this week. Between 2:30 and 3:30 I listened to Michael Mahler music as I stared at the ceiling while eating a Snickers bar on the floor. At 4:00 I had the exec transition meeting which went fine, but afterwards peer pressure and the fun within me decided it was best that I at least went to dinner for the Goodbye Joe Partay. After a DELICIOUS SEAFOOD PORTOFINO from Olive Garden, some of us decided to come back to Evanston. I tidied my room and desktop – which are pretty accurate reflections of how control I feel regarding academic life – got some admin stuff out of the way, and dozed off to sleep. This morning I woke up to my alarm clock and proceeded to begin this entry. Inbetween then and completing the entry Iíve gone to Sargent for breakfast and caught up with Bible readings. Today I will start maaaad studying.
Iíve decided that relying on caffeine in large doses is definitely unhealthy, and should only be reserved for extreme situations. While it often helps with getting things done and staying awake, people hardly mention the anxiety and mood change it brings. My Ďsemi-breakdowní I think was a result of the anxiety and panic that the Vivarin caused. My concerns for my grades are STILL real, however. But that freak-out feeling that I experienced is something that I never want to feel ever again. In a weekís time itíll all be over.

Spring Break
Next Saturday I will be on a plane to Rochester, NY to hang out with my big bro and also to see my mom! YayÖ my brother said heís planned for us to go snow tubing, which sounds like fun! Iíll also be completing my crash course at the Aldwin Maloto School of Driving and hopefully be getting my license in the Spring – possible even a car? =)

This has been the longest post and itís also taken the longest to write. I felt like I owed it to the readers of TheBoompsy (now that I know there are quite a few). Good luck with finals – I will be praying for success (mostly for me, but for you too if youíd like =P ). When I told someone that I prayed for good exams and I said that they work, I remember someone saying ďThatís because youíre smart!Ē But Iíve asked God for help so many times that I can say with conviction that it DOES work. And I donít mean to make it sound like God is someone who grants wishes, but honestly I am thankful to God for being there for me and always giving me strength and courage.

Until finals are done, goodbye, readers. Thanks for being a part of my life.
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Links

Kaibigan
Kaibigan
A student-run organization promoting Filipino culture at Northwestern University. My closest friends are in Kaibigan (which means 'friend' in Tagalog).

BibleGateway.com
BibleGateway.com
Probably your No. 1 resource in looking up Bible passages in the umpteen number of editions that exist of The Bible.

<em>The Exorcist</em> in 30 seconds (with bunnies)
The Exorcist in 30 seconds (with bunnies)
Need to see the original before watching Exorcist: The Beginning, but don't have the time? See this instead! Hahaha...

Friends' blogs
Friends' blogs
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