I am studying for a Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie University online.
But for the last while, especially the last week or so, my internet connection has become extremely unreliable.
It is very difficult to be an online university student without the online.
The internet isn’t completely dead. It just dies at regular intervals, resurrects itself for 5, 10, 15 minutes and then dies again. So I’m rushing to polish off and publish this blog post before the internet dies again!
Not only does this state of affairs make it difficult to submit assignments on time but it becomes quite difficult research for those assignments or even spend enough time on the university website to become familiar with what my study load needs to look like.
As a result, I haven’t got much university work done this term.
I haven’t had any late submissions or anything. In fact, that is part of the problem. Both units have a very strange study load where most of the assignments are due at the end of term. In one sense that’s a good thing because it means I don’t face immediate pressure now with the internet nigh-dead, but with the internet nigh-dead, I haven’t a very clear idea of what exactly I’m supposed to be doing, especially since there aren’t any assignments due right now.
This is making me stressed.
Realising that the unproductivity and uncertainty was stressing me out gave me pause, because I don’t think I stress very often.
I do thrive on the pressure of a nearing deadline. But pressure and stress affect me very differently.
Pressure stimulates me. It sets my mind racing and gives me the drive to finally get around to achieving what I need to do.
Stress exhausts me. At times I feel like my heart is tense. I can’t detect any raise in heart-rate, so that’s probably just psychological. That tense feeling just sits there in the back of my chest and is tiring and unpleasant.
I’m also now more easily exasperated by new demands on my time. So far it’s been nothing I couldn’t easily resolve internally by reminding myself to be more mature, but that initial reaction is still there. That’s a problem because I chose to study online largely so I can still contribute to family life. Family life is all about unscheduled interruptions. These are stressing me out because they are taking me away from this study problem which I probably wouldn’t be able to address even if I cut myself off from my family commitments, because the internet is dead.
I’ve also had to intentionally set about getting into a mental space suitable for spending time with other people. It wasn’t hard to do so, but I did have to intentionally think about it. That’s unusual.
Now, I am most certainly not on the verge of an emotional breakdown. I’m only a little stressed.
But I am stressed, and it has been a valuable exercise in recognising that I am stressed, why I am stressed and what stress looks like for me, even if it’s only a minor instance. It’s probably better to learn about stress through a minor experience than a big one anyway.
Now I know what is going on and why, I have to think up ways to fix it.