In 2013 my return to college after a 19-year hiatus was full of wide-eyed curiosity and motivation. I had no idea what to expect, but unlike the 17-year-old freshman of years past, I was excited to be back in the classroom and ready to take on the prerequisites for the doctor of physical therapy program. With a bachelor’s degree in art, this meant a very long list of math and science courses, some of which were prerequisites for the prerequisites. Needless to say, in Fall 2013 I felt like I would never get to the end of that list.
Yet nearly two years later, unbeknownst to me, I earned an associates degree in science, and with honors to boot. The only class that gave me trouble was Physics, which is why I dread registering for my final prerequisite: Physics II. To be perfectly frank, I would rather gouge my left eye out with a safety pin than prolong the torture. Physics was far more interesting than Chemistry, but it was a tremendous amount of work, eating up all my time and energy in the form of online homework for the previous chapter, online reading homework for the upcoming chapter, lab homework, weekly quizzes, and daily “clicker” questions. I felt like I sucked so badly that I needed to take the class over again, but the professor thinks I should just move onto the next class and simply review Chapter 3. Hurray, that sounds completely doable, not to mention I feel a little bit of redemption knowing the professor doesn’t think I’m a complete Physics imbecile.
But the problem is, I really don’t feel like doing it.
Alas, the burning desire to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy came and went, much like the equations for 2D kinematics going in one ear and out the other.
After finals, I felt as though I was suffering from some sort of post traumatic stress disorder related to academia. I couldn’t relax and enjoy my much needed time off because I had this constant nagging feeling that I had something due at midnight. Now that the break is half way over, I’ve eased into summer laziness, though most of this was imposed upon me in the form of metaxalone and tramadol, the lovely cocktail prescribed by the urgent care doc after my back injury. Throw in a whole lot of boredom from the absence of children and a weeklong teaching hiatus, and I am now in a state of Unthinking.
Unthinking might just as well be the opposite of overthinking, in which I overwhelm myself with what I’m supposed to do next, clouded by all the what if’s, what not’s, and whatever’s. Maybe I should complete the application for the DPT program, which is due in the fall. Maybe I should register for Physics II, and unregister if I change my mind. But when I really think about it, right now I really don’t have to do anything.
So maybe I should just vow to forget about school for a month. Start taking photos again. Go on a long walk. Cook an elaborate meal or two. Just unthink. All this stuff will still be here when I return, and maybe in a month’s time, everything will be perceived with much more clarity, hopefully without metaxalone and tramadol.
Note to self: The next time I find myself in urgent care with an injury, I need to ask the doc for something that doesn’t cause so much mental dullness. Maybe he will just tell me to forget the drugs and drink more vodka.