Monday, February 9, 2009

Don't Panic.

I was feeling sort of panicky yesterday. On my to-do list was a pile of reading for my human evolution class, a project that involved a bit of research and a scale rendering for my stage rigging class, study for a Spanish quiz, and a phone call with the Lizzie Borden music director in New York. I couldn't concentrate for long on any of them without the others pushing their way into my brain, so I spent about an hour in the late morning just lying on my bed with my eyes wide open trying to breathe slowly.

I have seriously bit off more than I can chew with this anthropology class. I needed one course from a list of science courses to fulfill a degree requirement, and it was the only course on the list that would fit in my schedule. Since this is my last full semester, I don't have a lot of flexibility. I knew it was a course for science majors, but the course description was a little vague about prerequisites and it's a course on a fascinating subject taught by one of the top scientists in the field, so I just decided to do it.

I was reading from the textbook yesterday morning, and seriously not absorbing ANY of it because it's so full of terminology it looks as opaque as a foreign language. So not only do I not know what I'm reading, it takes me forEVER to read it. I kept thinking I should just stop, it's a waste of time, and I have so much other stuff to do. But then I would tell myself to relax and read it a few times, maybe it'll get clearer eventually. A few times? You mean I have to read this more than once?! And round and round.

The hard thing for me to accept (and the fact that it's so hard makes me even crazier) is that I may not get everything but what I do get will be valuable. When he's not digging fossils, the professor of this course is very involved with creating interactive teaching tools. Besides the book for this course, we have a CD-ROM which is much easier to navigate than the book. Pictures! I spent a little time with it yesterday and suddenly a few basic concepts became clear, and now I feel like I have at least a start of a framework that I can hang all the esoteric information from the textbook and articles on.

It's not that I can't do this stuff. I just need to take it in smaller pieces. My new motto for life. "Don't panic!"

I finished the rigging project, and the Lizzie Borden phone call went well. He's making some big changes in the arrangements of the songs: all improvements, but it's hard to have someone else fussing with material that I created and have become very attached to. Some of those songs I wrote almost 20 years ago.

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