Saturday, November 13, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Burn Out 

My exam schedule has been out for nearly a month now and I've just checked it. Bearing in mind that the exam period is from Dec 7-21, here is my exam schedule:

Dec 7th: Anatomy of Speech
Dec 17th: Psychology-Research Methods
Dec 20th: Psych 100
Dec 20th: Phonology
Dec 21st: Syntax

Notice how the start of my exams is less than a month away. Notice how I managed not only to score two exams in one day, but also to score exams on the first and last day of the exam period. Notice how I don't really care.

That's the scary part. With most courses still plugging me with essays and assignments that will count toward my final grade, and the exam countdown getting more urgent with each calandar day, I find myself really unfazed. Unfazed is the wrong word. I think apathetic is more accurate. I'm putting less effort into my assignments (usually I finish them days ahead of time, take them to office hours, talk to the prof and TA about them and pretty them up in MS word), I'm skipping classes and not really worrying about them, and I haven't yet drawn up a study schedule for the exams. I'm not voraciously doing the readings (in fact, I'm really behind on course readings), I'm putting my hand up less in class. I need a break.

The thing that's been putting the fire on my behind lately is the promise of an NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Comission) scholarship toward a Master's degree in Speech Sciences. It involves upward of $17 000 USD a year for two years. It's based on your average over the your last 60 credits (which means all the courses that I'm taking this year and next) as well as a research proposal. I've already come up with a possible research topic and I plan to use my Christmas break to catch up on some of the more recent articles on the topic and then possibly in January talk to the dept. head about acting on it. Maybe I'll do that course where you get to write a Master's thesis type paper for six credits under one of the profs in the faculty. I even know which prof because the dept. head has already put us in preliminary contact. You guys out there want to know my research topic? I'm sure as hell not going to post it here. It's too good a topic, and this blog is too public. For those of you not in my field, email me and I'll share my genius with you. *grin*

I digress. The NSERC scholarship comittee doesn't just look at your grade averages though. That wouldn't be a problem because I know I can get an A average even though I get high Bs in some of my courses. They look at your courses individually as well, which means that ideally I need As in all my courses. That's the fire under my butt. That's where I'm going with all this. That's where I'm starting to not really care. But I should, but I don't.

On the other hand, I cooked mussels for dinner last night. I bought them live from Superstore and steamed them in white wine that simmered with garlic, tomatoes and leeks. They were really, really good and surprisingly cheap. I steamed them for a little too long though, falling into the beginner's mistake of leaving them in the pot hoping that the ones that wouldn't open would yield. (Always discard mussels that don't open after steaming. It means they're bad. Like stabbing your cellmate with a shiv bad.) It resulted in the mussels being mushier than they should've, but they were still damn good for a first attempt, at any rate. I would post the recipe here, but it's not my recipe. It's Alton Brown's which means that you can find it at the Food Network website because they legally own all the recipes from his show. Specifically, you can find the recipe for mussels here. Of course it would be best if you actually watched the mussels episode of Good Eats because he provides priceless instruction that you will not be able to find just by reading the recipe. You can find a transcript of that episode here.

Interestingly enough, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, mussels are the most economical form of complete protein that you can get from an animal. So they're good for you too. Those of you on the Atkins diet don't rejoice yet though, 6 ounces of mussels hide 8.4g of net carbs.

Right now I'm supposed to be reading Psych articles about Social Dilemmas, you know, the ones that look at competition and cooperation. It's for an essay that was supposed to be due on Monday but the prof pushed the deadline back to Friday. Instead, I'm sipping my second cup of Tim Horton's coffee, brewed in my Starbucks Aroma Quattro machine. I love Tim Horton's coffee and I love my surprisingly cheap Quattro (after factoring in the two free pounds of coffee that you get after buying it, it only cost about $10). Mmmmm !)*Y*IU#BRUIJFDIY(*@U#*^%R&$#&&#$%!! Great. Did someone just pray to the god of irony or something? Gato just jumped up and knocked over my coffee. All over the carpet. Dammit, I'm never living in another place with carpeting. Hardwood, hardwood, hardwood. Forever and always. Bah.

posted by Joie! at 11:44 a.m.


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