I mean it. After struggling through much of the term just gone and spending much of it being conscious that I want to pursue my study very much but, concurrently, wondering why on earth it is I want to put myself through this ordeal of studying and working full time, I now find myself feeling much calmer about things and (seemingly quite inexplicably) like I have finally managed to learn a reasonble amount of stuff. One of the reasons I particularly wanted to start this blog was to try and make sense of and explore how I learn. I am hoping that if any one else ever reads it they might even have some comments, insights or things to share about their own learning processes. I would love to start a dialogue about learning and the thinking process with other people. I genuinely find it quite mysterious.
Admittedly how I feel about my study has some relationship to how I feel about my life generally. I have learned over the last year or so that I suffer mood swings, periods of generally feeling up, enthusiastic, capable and generally productive followed by periods of relative apathy, tiredness, incomprehension and feeling overwhelmed and not quite knowing why. I have also learned, since starting studying, that pressure or anxieties about study or not having enough time to study tend to push me in to a ‘down’. So it works both ways. My mood affects how I study and the pressures of studying (as well as work, family, life generally) affect my mood. None of what I have written is particularly unsurprising really, I guess. If any one is reading this, I suspect you are wondering what I am puzzling over and why I am writing about this as if it is something unusual. The answer to that question is a complicated one and has much to do with great upheaval in my personal life within the last year. The last year has been a steep learning curve for me, both in terms of how I cope with the world generally and in terms of my study.
I digress. My point is that tonight, although I am exhausted, somehow all the research I have been doing for my next assignment is falling in to place. I can almost feel it slotting together somehow and forming a solid mass in my brain. I had a couple of weeks towards the end of the last term where I started to feel like I was really getting somewhere with this term’s taught course (about the time I wrote my first blog post). Then I lost it for a couple of weeks. Last week I took a week off work just to do my reading and research. It was really hard going and I had to force myself to sit and read when, although I wanted to, I had real trouble concentrating on it. This evening I sat down to try and draft an essay plan. (I didn’t get very far on drafting the plan in the end, but that isn’t because I don’t know what I will be writing. Its mostly because I am just too tired to keep up with my thoughts.) I am tempted to say that I can actually feel the ideas in jostling about in my mind. It is almost as if all the stuff I have been trying to absorb over the last few weeks has become coherent, has formed an image in my mind and all I have to do is sit back and look over it. Accompanying that is a distinct lack of recognition of my agency, as if this ordering of my thoughts has nothing to do with me. Like it just happened completely independently of me and this is reflected in the imagery and language I use to describe it. Eg. “I can almost feel it slotting together somehow … in my brain”. I find that quite confusing but it also makes me marvel. A kind of bewildered sense of awe, like encountering something quite inexplicable but somehow sacred.
The other thing that strikes me, reading through what I have written so far in this post, is that I am using language that suggests a concern with tangibility and/or something kinaesthetic. I using words with very physical connotations to describe the way my thoughts are making more sense. For example, “slotting together”, “a solid mass in my brain”, “I can feel the ideas jostling”. I don’t quite know what to make of all this, but I am bloody relieved to feel (in a very concrete way) that I am making progress with this term paper again! It is interesting that I also feel capable of writing another blog entry. I simply have not felt capable of writing anything coherent to contribute to this blog since my last entry.
I don’t much like not understanding how all this works in my head. It leaves me worrying about never feeling capable of thinking or making sense of what I am studying again. This anxiety extends to my perception of my ability to cope with life in general and I suspect the two are linked. It may be nothing more than an expression of various insecurities I have. Sadly, I can’t think of a more glamourous explanation.
To any one who has managed to read to the end of this post, thank you for your patience! If I have trouble navigating the inner depths of my mind, I can’t imagine what it must be like for any one else to venture in here through my writing. I think that is a large part of why I write, because I am as mystified about what going on in my mind as any one else is. Part of me hopes to make it just a little bit clearer by putting it in to words and to see if any one else ever experiences anything similar or recognises even just a little bit of themselves in my exploration. I have always been fascinated by the prospect of knowing what other people think, what they really think when it is just them alone in their own minds. When I write it is with a hope of expressing some small part of what really goes on in my mind. Its a kind of trail of breadcrumbs for me (my future self) and some kind of sign post for other people. Well, thats today’s theory, anyway.