So, week 1 of my MSW program is over, and boy, are my arms tired. Wait, no, that’s a different joke.
This week has been a pretty weird one for me, because it has involved a lot of activity, often in ways that I am (if you know me) not generally interested in doing. Part of my plan for going back to school, for example, was to make sure I got regular and increasing amounts of exercise. Now, anyone who has ever been around me while doing any kind of exercise knows that, in general, I hate it. It tends to be boring, painful, and generally feels like it isn’t actually accomplishing anything. So me starting up my own little exercise program – even if it is relatively low-scale so far, with the intent to ramp it up as I go – should be enough to give you pause. Especially since a key component of this has been cardiovascular activity – as I hate treadmills, I’d prefer to just walk around, which I can do easily enough in my apartment complex; it feels more like I am actually accomplishing something, even if I am just walking around in circles. This is especially impressive (for me) when you consider that every day this week has been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (heat index often pushing it up to 110 or higher), because walking a couple miles in that kind of heat makes you wish for death. So I figure if I can do that, I can certainly do that and more when it starts to cool down.
I’ve also started on a more rigorous diet program, which is intended to be more low-carb, high-protein. To my chagrin, I found that such a diet is not easy to accomplish with pre-made foods, because preservatives often add more carbohydrates than I want to eat. So, I’ve had to venture into the cooking arena again. While my ventures so far have met with some limited success – my fake (or crustless) quiche was quite good, my cauliflower ham and cheese fritters not so much – it helps me out in two separate areas, because I do enjoy cooking, but I often feel that I am left with too many leftovers, so haven’t done much cooking lately, and it also helps me to make sure I know exactly what is going into my food. Coming up on my cooking schedule are a bacon and Brie frittata, low carb-pizza with cauliflower crust, and possibly low-carb Andes mint fudge. I’ll try to keep that updated somewhere.
Finally, school. It was weird getting back into classes, especially since my classes are, well, online. And there were some hiccups in the technology, as well as some timing issues. But overall, it seems like a pretty easy way of doing class, though I still find myself trying to look semi-professional for my webcam (yes, mom and dad, this means I shower, shave, and wear pants and a collared shirt). While the work load was not a surprise – I’m used to doing a lot of reading for class, having gotten one Masters (and most of a PhD) in English literature – the subject matter was a shock to my system. I’ve done a lot of reading by social workers or psychologists in the last year or so, but none of it rises to the nose-bleed-inducingly dry levels for social work textbooks. That’s the part that feels overwhelming to me; all these theories, models, and practices, dozens of them, thrown at students in their first week of class, and somehow we’re supposed to learn and internalize them so that we can use them as the basis for further classes. That’s going to take some work. As well, our first major assignment involves going out into a nearby community and asking a great deal of interrogative questions to find out information about demographics, community leaders, culture clashes, levels of social, economic, and health-related inequality, and how content people are within a community, as well as several strengths and challenges each particular community faces. As an introvert, this is hard for me, too, because asking strangers these kinds of questions makes me very uncomfortable, but I’ve already gotten my work started, and just have to make sure it gets finished, collated, and written in a coherent manner by this coming Saturday.
Oddly, despite the stress all of this has caused – a new diet, new exercise program, new school, and going back to work this week – I think I’m doing pretty well, mentally speaking. I think a lot of that may be because these things are all things I am choosing to do, rather than things I feel pressured to do, which instinctively makes me push back passive-aggressively. Since I’m initiating them myself, that would be kind of weird – can you be passive-aggressive towards yourself? – so things are going pretty smoothly, all things considered.
Anyway, that’s about it for this particular entry. My stomach is unhappy with the lack of pizza or burgers in my diet, so anybody who has any good low-carb recipes, I’d love to hear (or read) them, and if you have any experience in social work, I’d love to find something that either simplifies the theories that come up in basic introductory stuff, or puts them in a manner that is more easy to digest mentally – some of these sentences and paragraphs in my textbooks, while I am certain they are very informative, feel like they are sucking the water out of my brain they are so dry. Have you ever seen a dehydrated brain? It’s not a pretty sight. So take pity on my brain, and drop me a line if you have any tips or tricks to get this stuff in my head more easily.