ok, so i had a _complete_ mental breakdown last nite – 100% crashed, on the floor bawling, uncontrollable hysteria, hyper-confusion, hyper-furstraion, anger, annoyance, loss of any contral whatsoever – complete breakdown.
so, it was 12 o’clock and i was working on riscque, my current cs31 assignment. it was the only time that i could meet with someone to discuss my frustration and confusion, to be set straight so i could start the assignment. all i wanted to do was go to sleep so that i could wake up for morning meditation. it was the one thing that i wanted to do. but as i watched the clock tick minutes and my confusion grow, i realized that i would not be in bed in time to get up… (i have found meditation futile with less than four hours of sleep).
as i was trying to understand the assignment, thought os the weekend seeped into my brain. [what a wonderful friday with the monks!] [you spent all of saturday doing cs51!] [fire and water was soooo cool and relazing] [today was stressful- all day in teh CIT and it was such a beautiful day out] [why are you doing this anyhow?] [you are not enjoying this!] [you have sleep class tomorrow and have not done any of the reading!] [idiot! when is the last time you did any reading for sleep?] [or for classics? you got an “a” on a paper without doing any reading!] [classics reading is fun but you don’t have time for it!] [you have been skipping exercise on a regular basis lately!] [where is all your time going?] [COMPUTER SCIENCE CLASSES!!!!!!] [the only thing that keeps you sane is your buddhism class – not the readings but the practice] [but computer science is eliminating all time for practice and reading] [your life revolves around computer science!] [why? you are not enjoying it!] [what aobut cs32? you won’t make it thru that class – your wrists will give way!] [if you get thru that class, it will be all good, you would be home free…] [but if your hands crash, it will be the final time – you will never be able to do anything with your hands again – look at todd!] [but your mother will kill you if you drop it! it is your only worthwhile interest!] [but your life will be ruined by it] [but there is no way of getting around it. you have eliminated everything in your life to be able to do it – just get thru that one class!] [but what if? why? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH]
and i lost it.. my mind exploded. i was so frustrated, so confused and so angry that i had to make this choice. i was trying to figure out what i loved about it anymore and the only thing that came to mind was cs15. i loved that course, for all the glitz and the glamor! it was fun, caught my interest and intrigued me. but i have not enjoyed anything beyond that. 16 was fun. 22 was horrid. teaching cs4 and cs15 was an absolute delight. the people are terrible. the hours are horrid. the pain is unbearable. and why? my hands hurt now! why?? and i couldn’t hold it in… i made friends with my only privacy – the bathroom.
curled up in the corner below the window, next to the tub, face in one hand, roll of toilet paper in the other, i let the tears stream down my face in agony. i cried, i bawled… hysteria set in and i could not control it. all i wanted was a panacea to this whole big problem – the problem of where my life is going? the problem of what am i doing? the problem of why?
stuck in that level of insanity, i did not know where to go… the only person i wanted to talk with was my mommy… it was 3am or so. jon came in, hugged me but had no idea how to help me. i had no idea how he could. i made up my mind to call my mom…
i tried to calm myself down as i headed downstairs towards the phone. luckily no one was home so i crept into the living room, put on someone’s sweater which lay in the middle of the floor and curled myself in a ball on the black fancy couch. i picked up the phone. it rang three times and ryan picked up. i know he was confused… he got mom and once i heard her voice, i lost it again.
Well, she calmed me down and we started talking. her voice is so soothing. i spilled my brain, telling her all my frustrations with cs and with my work and with where i am going, etc. she started asking questions.
how are you feeling about your house? i love it – i love coming home to it, it makes me so happy! but i am so jealous when i look outside the CIT and see my housemates reading or relaxing, playing music or doing art on the front porch. i want to be home more. if i had time to read, i could do it at home… but i don’t… hmmm…
how is jon? one other good thing in my life! i feel so good around him. i chuckled and we talked about how i could never imagine breaking up with him and how everything is perfect and whatnot. how are your friends for the most part, everything is fine. xxx is super-hyper about everything and i never see her. somehow, i don’t think we are on the same wavelength about everything. that is frustrating. she is constantly annoyed at me but does not tell me why. and she always bites my head off for no reason. xxx is really good although i never see her either since she has too much to do all the time. my housemates rock. jon rocks. all that is good…
actually, the only thing right now in my life that is going terribly wrong is computer science and my fear of cs32 and the amount of time i spend dealing with cs!
are you enjoying taing? again, i love it. i love teaching. i love the lightbulbs.
but it is cs. but it is the glitz and glory class. yeah, it was hard but it was fun and the results were cool and the class was exciting!
how are the people going in cs? it’s at the whatever stage. i can cope with them. they don’t impact my life much except to keep reminding me that i don’t belong here. sad part is they are probably right.
what about san francisco and your exciement about working there? yeah, i am still psyched to do that but i can’t do that if my hands crash in 32 and i can’t do it if i don’t take 32. it’s a catch-22.
what do you like about your current classes? 51 is models of computation. i don’t know if i like the material. since i don’t understand the material as presented in class and the book is written by the same professor so it makes the same lack of sense to me. i love scheme, the language, but i don’t understand what i am supposed to do in scheme. when someone explains the concept, the programming is easy. the homeworks are impossible since i don’t understand the material. cs31 is a different story – the material is interesting, the class is interesting, but the work takes too much time – there is always more than one assignment out and the result of everything i do is that i don’t apparently understand the material. i thought i understood what we were doing, but the exam did not test any of that. in fact, the only result i got out of the exam is “ha ha, we know more than you!” and it pissed me off. our exam did not test anything we learned. as a result, it makes the class miserable. constant negative feedback does not encourage me. it utterly discourages me. and the prof decided that the class is too easy so he is adding a hard core program to the end of the semester – a compiler! i don’t understand a compiler and i am not accustomed to writing that much code! what am i going to do? i thought this class would reexcite me about cs since i found the material interesting but to no avail.
and they want to attract people! that is the big problem with computer science. courses are hard and they like em hard. pascal, the teacher of 31 said on the first day of cs31 that the class is too easy and that he wants to make it harder. no one wants to make the classes easier. they want it to be a more exclusive club. classes that are hard stay hard (or try to get harder). classes that are easy get hard. i expected that cs31 would be pretty simple but the prof does not want that. in fact, the average on the midterm exam was in the 40s! mom, remember a teacher can make the class hard- the tas are the graders and the people that hold hours, etc. the problem with computer science is that it implements the snowball theorem- always keep making it harder!
What things related to CS do you like?
HTML & web stuff
programming on my own terms
I just don’t think I can cope with the bullshit of majoring… it doesn’t really relate to what i like… another friend of mine dropped cs on friday because of this…
but if you do cs, won’t that help you with what you like?
assuming i can get through cs
don’t you only have one or two classes left? 3 – cs32 and two classes of my choice… but cs32 stands in my way…
what do you want to study? and being a buddhist monk is out! why? being a monk (actually nun) is the only thing that sounds interesting right now! i am not paying $30,000 a year for you to be a nun! besides, do you really want to give up everything? mom, buddhist nuns can be married and have kids. regardless… fine! but i have no idea what i want to study! if i did, i would be studying it!
danah, what do you want? i don’t have a solution for you! i know… i just needed someone to talk to… i need to take time off and get away from here.
you can’t quit. in 6 months, your loans will kick in. you have a responsibility to yourself and to me. when you started, you knew that. when i started, i thought i knew what i wanted. i was wrong. and i just want to take a pause
danah, you can’t quit and you can’t pause… that is what the summer is for. you have been miserable since you have been at Brown. first it was your roommate, then your hands, then the cs boys, now this. what do you want? I DON’T KNOW! but i can’t handle this anymore. [breakdown]
discussion continued… we talked about possible majors and whatnot. i had no clue what i wanted. all i knew was that my life is completely out of control. i don’t know what the direction is that i should take, where i should go or what to do.
we agreed that a solution could not be reached tonight and started talking about next semester. mentioned that the one thing that i really wanted to do was coordinate BACH and we agreed that that is a bad idea. my life is too out-of-whack for that to be feasible or even reasonable. being responsible for other people is stupid when i don’t know how to be responsible for me…
what a mess! still confused and frustrated, we acknowledged that a decision could not be made any time soon and that i just need to figure something out…
so we said goodnight and i went upstairs. i didn’t want to be touched or anything. my hands hurt so i just went to bed. hours later, i should have gotten up for class but i had no desire. i was too burnt. so i didn’t. and i didn’t get up for exercise. i just stayed curled up in my ball avoiding the world happily.
when zephyr finally woke me, i took a relaxing shower and went back to my room. dan and i started talking about the previous night. he had no advice so we started talking about the one aspect of cs that i currently enjoy – teaching. he asked why i didn’t just go off and teach cs in high school. in many ways, he’s right – i would love it but if and only if my students wanted to learn… i don’t know how to teach people that don’t want to learn. and could i cope with the politics of education? my experience was so miserable… regardless, it is an interesting option… so my miserable night ended…