My mood has been all over the place these past three days, from near-despair to near-contentment.
I do like most of the classes I had so far very well, even though there was more organisational than subject-related content in most. Some courses are just a repetition of stuff I learned over ten years ago already, others are subjects I last had in school, and a few completely new. So I’m neither bored out of my mind nor intellectually overwhelmed.
The people are mostly nice; I actually spoke to a few. It still costs me a little mental persuasion until I can bring myself to make some kind of contact, but all situations turned out “harmless” and nothing I should break into a sweat over.
What I’m struggling with is the schedule and how my classes are scattered over the day. Almost every day, there are breaks of one or two hours in between – too short to really do anything worthwhile (except for having lunch) and definitely too short for going home. Ideally, I’d be having all my classes back to back and going home earlier in return, because those breaks are pretty much lost time for me. That is an ideal scenario which is highly unlikely, but a more condensed schedule would have been great, because instead of relaxing during the time off, those phases actually create more tension in me than attending a lecture or class.
Even more difficult is the fact that the schedule isn’t definite yet. They move around hours and locations and you have to check constantly whether your information still is up to date – yesterday I almost missed the mathematics lecture because it had been relocated to a different building, but there was no notification at the original place. It stresses me because during this first week, you have to attend the first session of every class for registering, else you can’t sit your exam at the end of the year: I have mandatory classes on four days, where attendance is registered and if you miss more than twice, you can’t take the corresponding exam. Only on Fridays there are no such courses, and I managed to keep Friday afternoon completely free as well, so that I’ll have a day when I can go to therapy.
During the years when I was pretty much hiding from anything university-related, they reformed the university system here in Europe as part of the Bologna Process. I still started out pursuing a Magister Artium degree back in 1999, but wasn’t able to finish it. Now I’m going for a Bachelor of Science, which is rather strict in comparison: for the Magister, you could usually choose from a small selection of classes, and decide in which semester you’d tackle which mandatory course. With the new Bachelor studies, there’s no such thing as freedom of choice during the first year, you are simply presented with a bouquet of classes and have to take them all. Even though I already have years of university education under my belt, I’m used to a completely different way of studying and in regards to organization I’m just as clueless as the 18-year-olds sitting next to me.
I know that I have to be careful now. A small but substantial part of my successful recovery from chronic depression was the creation of a daily routine to which I stuck: regular meals, regular times of activity, enough sleep and healthy sleeping hours, daily periods of privacy, when I could just be by myself and unwind. All of that is rather stirred up now: meal times change from day to day, I have to get up earlier, and there’s a not nearly as much “alone time” in my days. I find it difficult to really relax once I am home and had not enough sleep either. For a couple of days, that is ok, but I need to find a new routine in order to maintain my mental health.
So this week is rather stressful for me, for reasons I didn’t have on my radar at first, while all the fields where I expected struggle are relatively smooth so far. I’m looking forward to the weekend…