Friday, November 6, 2009

On -itis

Blogging has been tougher lately. First of all, the new NaNo thing is draining my writing capacity. Secondly -  and probably more importantly - being back home, I don’t have as much to blog about. I know I don’t have to be overseas to have interesting things to say, but it comes easier there. Finally, I am frequently falling in the gap between being lazy and getting back to being busy. I have a bad case of the bloggingnotpriorititis.

Yesterday I went to Oslo. My supervisor has (ir)regular meetings with all of her students, and since I have been on the mailing list while in the U.S., I knew there was one coming up. During these meeting we comment on each other’s drafts, and it’s a way for us to get to know each other despite the fact that we’re on different stages in our research projects. I remember how terrifying it was to present my project the first time, weeks after I’d started working on my thesis, and how intimidating (and yet inspiring) the older students were. Now, the situation is reversed. I am one of the veterans, while there are new students who are every bit as lost I was. What surprised me a little, however, was the way they seemed to think that criticism was a bad thing. I can’t remember I felt that way about my project. Criticism is good, because it helps you improve. Feedback is the most efficient way I know to snap out of the bubble writing can be (needless to say, this also applies to non-academic writing), and if they haven’t learned that after (minimum) three years at university, I think it’s high time. (They otherwise stand the risk of developing cannottakecriticismitis.)

The meeting was productive, but I could have gone without the 40 minutes of justifying why we were giving them feedback after the meeting. Oh, well. It was nice seeing my supervisor and my co-students. I’m looking forward to moving back to Oslo and become a part of the crowd there again. It really has been too long (I haven’t lived in Oslo since April).

However, I now fear that it might take longer than I expected. The swine flu scare has made me wish I could avoid getting sick on principle, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. My mom woke up this morning not feeling too good, and from her symptoms, it seems that it might really be the flu. What I haven’t told her (she doesn’t need double worry), is that I’m not feeling too good either, and now I wonder if I might have whatever she’s got. If so, that efficiently ends my plans for this weekend – I am supposed to go back to Oslo to celebrate two birthdays, and I was really looking forward to it. If I have the flu, however, I won’t have the stamina. And even if I don’t, if my mom has it, it’s well worth considering whether it’s wise to expose my friends to the germs.

I’ve been acting as nurse today – a role that does not come natural to me. I knew early that health care was not a line of profession for me, and it has not changed. I can do it if I have to, and I will do it for someone I care about, but boy am I glad that normally my only “patients” are a little thing like the Middle East conflict and the decisions of some long dead U.S. policy makers (I don’t even have to treat them, my job solemnly lies in the field of diagnosis).

Bottom line – I’m glad I’ve found a better direction for me (though I am very glad there are people who do want to become nurses and doctors); I wish my mom a speedy recovery; and I hope that whatever I’ve got it’s just the sympathitis.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm not a great nurse, either. I started feeling really horrid when I was taking care of my son when he had swine flu, but I never did know if it was me being psychosomatic or if I fought it off by all the vitamin C, D, etc. I started downing.

Hope you both feel better soon. If it's any comfort at all, it's pretty much like having regular flu...not that THAT'S fun, but it's not any worse.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Chary Johnson said...

Hope you and your family feel better soon.

The constructive criticism process is not only a problem with your fellow classmates. My students have difficulty accepting it also. I don't know why but they feel that when given feedback, we *teachers* are picking on them or we are "outing" their flaws. Love the whole peer project process though. I may try it when my students are a little more confident with their writing.

Cruella Collett said...

Thank you - I am feeling much better today (in fact, well enough to go to Oslo - yay!), and my mom seems cured entirely (except for after-effects from staying in bed without eating all day yesterday). So it looks like this was just the scaretitis

Watery Tart said...

I'm so glad you didn't end up sick, Mari! Hopefully all that fun explains your absence since then...

Love the 'itis' theme too... (and I've also had some trouble blogging... I am madly WRITING... blogging... not so much)

Cruella Collett said...

The fun is all to blame. I didn't write a single word, blog wise or else, all weekend (I included today in the weekend, but that is subject to change). But it was a GREAT weekend!

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