Sunday, April 27, 2008

Live Your Dream?

One of the things I love about Facebook/Myspace is the fact that you can check in on what everyone you used to know is up to these days. Something I've noticed lately is that a lot of people from my high school class are "living the dream." That is to say, many of them basically decided to up and move to the state/country they want to be in or to go after the job that they really love. Although I know none of the details surrounding most of their decisions, they strike me as the "starving artists" type. Most of these people are classmates I don't keep in touch with, who I was never very good friends with in the first place.

What strikes me is the vast difference between those people and my close friends who I *do* keep in touch with. Nearly all of my close friends are in graduate school, or taking time to decide which type of graduate school they want to go to. I never cease to be amazed by my brilliant and talented friends, but in my Facebook/myspace browsing, I wonder how many of us would describe ourselves as "living the dream." Sure, we want to be doing what we're doing because it will (theoretically) get us to where we want to be... our dream perhaps? But are we missing out by choosing to spend the bulk of our 20s in school when we could be off traveling the world, taking low-paying jobs that we love (oh wait, I guess that kind of describes grad school too! :-)), meeting new people, exploring new places, working our way up the ladder of fame/fortune?

I don't necessarily regret choosing grad school (and I don't mean to imply that any of my friends should either!) because I know it is the road I want to go down to get me to where I want to be in the end. But I do often wonder about these things... Really, what it boils down to is that I think I play the "what if" game far too often for my own good.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Magic of the Interwebs.

The amount of information available on the internet never ceases to amaze me. This has come up several times in the last few weeks... there is the obvious (and sometimes scary) fact of how little information you need about a person in order to find a way to contact them. But there is also the really cool fact that I can find out nearly anything I want to -- from the answer to a question on my take-home final about the MMPI to how much postage for my teacher perceptions survey will cost (weight of a piece of paper + USPS postage calculator). The latter is the thing that is entirely amusing to me at the moment, and what inspired this post. Really.... I Googled "the weight of a piece of paper" and came up with my answer! It was fantastic :-).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

All Good Things Come to an End.

In the last few days, I've realized that along with this crazy semester (although admittedly not quite as crazy as last year) a lot of things will be coming to an end soon. I always seem to forget that even when things are really nice and coming together, it tends to be short-lived. Maybe that's the pessimist in me talking, but it just feels like a lot is ending right now. And really, only a couple of new things are beginning. Most of it just keeps going, and I'm not particularly excited about anything in that "it" category at the moment. Choir ends in two weeks. Two close friends are moving away (albeit to a different area of town, but when they both live so close now, it feels pretty far. And I know it won't be quite the same when they live across town rather than a block or two away). A few less close, but still important, people are moving away/dropping out of my life in various ways.

The one thing that doesn't seem to want to end is Winter. It's supposed to be 45 with a possibility of snow tomorrow (er, today I guess). On April 25. And it's been rainy and icky all day today. Let's just say this doesn't help matters any.

I'm trying to stay positive, and to remember that change doesn't have to be bad. And it doesn't mean that the parts I like about the way things are now have to disappear with the changes. But I never claimed to be good with change. So, add a lot of changes together and... well, there you have it. All good things come to an end.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How to Encourage PTSD.

The idea of "encouraging" (I use the term facetiously) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is something that people don't think about much. How can anyone who wasn't there encourage a disorder based on some traumatic experiences? Well, I remember reading some pieces post-9/11 about traumatic stress and people's reactions. Often similar pieces were covered in news shows. The big difference being that the news shows usually included clips from 9/11 of the Twin Towers collapsing or some such image. Not having been near NYC at the time, but being affected on 9/11, those images have a pretty serious impact on me even now, nearly 7 years later. Now, take those images and imagine that you saw the Towers collapse in person, or that you had family members in those buildings. You see the induction of the traumatic stimuli?

Now, the example that brought all of this to mind was semi-related... the War in Iraq. I was at the VA earlier today doing an interview for my assessment class. I'm working with dementia patients, so they are elderly adults. The two I've interacted with for this assignment were both WWII vets. The patient I interviewed today, however, finds himself experiencing flashbacks/hallucinations more recently than he had in the years since he returned from combat. Part of the reason is likely to be his increasing dementia (when the long-term memories are all that you can remember, and those memories also involve trauma, suddenly trauma that hasn't been there in years also resurfaces). But another likely reason for this trauma to be resurfacing is all of the media attention on the War in Iraq! All the graphic images and clips shown in the news these days bring up memories for these Veterans. It's horrible, when you think about it. They have had no direct involvement in the war that is going on now -- they've served their time and have moved on with their lives. Then the media comes along and dredges it all back up for them. It feels unethical and irresponsible for them to cover the War with such a cavalier attitude towards such things, with so little recognition for the pain they may be causing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture??

I'm not sure if you can quite read it, but just in case, the picture above is a screenshot of a "Winter Storm Warning." In April. April 10 to be exact. What the heck??? Also, it was sleeting/snowing a few minutes ago and then there was thunder and lightning. Again, what the heck?? I think someone is a little confused up there! So ready to move back to Cali now!