An Attempted Murder-by-Disorganisation, Perhaps?

My department is trying to kill me.  I’m not joking.  I hate these introductory lectures, you know, where someone stands up and does that Big Strict Growly Thing, the purpose of which being to panic the procrastinators into paying attention with the threat of failing if you do pretty much anything, and the actual result of which being that the procrastinators miss the threats completely – because they’re, you know, not paying attention – and the earnest nerdy types are reduced to quivering wrecks by the end, thinking that they’ll never manage to, erm, manage it all.

Sigh.

I had my first lecture today, which was meant to be an introduction to the laboratory course starting on Monday.  And honestly, I’d forgotten how awful lectures are on my senses and anxieties.  I could go into more detail, but I won’t, or you may well die of boredom, dear reader.

First, the lecturer starts off, a perfectly nice bloke – nothing against him, by explaining how the laboratory course will work, but without the slides prepared for the occasion, as he’s forgotten his cable.  Good start.

Then, we are told that the first lab session starts on Monday, and we have been split into groups, one of which will do Mondays and Tuesdays, and one of which will do Thursdays and Fridays.  Which group we are in will be revealed… by Monday morning at the latest.  Cue mocking laughter from those who aren’t really bothered by preparation times like weird old me.  Cue slow shrivelling into a speck by the Aspie in the front row.

The entire template of the lab report (to be handed in a week after the first lab day) is different from last year – which I’d not been warned about any time recently – and requires a hell of a lot more work to complete.  There’s work to be done in preparation, as always, but in a book which we won’t get until we arrive.  There’s some logic for you.

There was a load of, erm, let’s just call it Construction Noise because I don’t know what it was specifically but I know something construction-y makes a noise like that.  And it burst through the walls frequently, completely drowning out what the lecturer was saying; I had no hope in hell of keeping up, since my Noise Filter is chronically and irreparably bust, so everything gets in.  So I missed the part – thanks a bunch to the Law of Sod – to do with health and safety, reading ahead and All That Jazz.

Sigh again.

Not to mention that I’ve got several Shiny Important Gendery Things coming up through the next few Saturdays, so I’ll have to plan around it all with expert precision.  Which I don’t have.

Next Saturday will be the first Lab Report Panic Weekend, and also the time when I’ll lose the majority of my Saturday commuting to my fourth testosterone shot, plus first blood test (to compare levels between then and one week later) and another follow-up appointment with Dr Lorimer a couple of hours later.  The next Saturday will mostly be lost commuting to the follow-up blood test as aforementioned.  Lots of commuting, but very worth it.  And, sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s the important stuff.  Everything else, life included, comes second to my increasingly-excellent progress on T.  Because it’s excellent.  Increasingly.

I will also be going home on weekends for the sake of my sanity, to essentially keep me in the land of the neuro-vaguely-typical.  Because otherwise I’d end up publicly talking – loudly – to myself, in different voices, in no time at all.  Home is organised.  Ish.  Home is routine-filled.  Home is calming and sense-relaxing.

… and I can help myself recover from the panicked over-planning throughout the week.  Seriously, I’ve found out the hard way, after having almost 20 years of essentially the same routine for getting up in the morning and going to bed in the evening, that if I enter a new space with a new layout, I can’t do anything without serious thought.  I’ve spent most days this week walking around with one sock on, cleaning my teeth before realising that I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, washing my hair and forgetting to dry it and then having to do it all over again… and so on.  And it’s all because there’s a shower; at home, we have a bath and no shower, so my entire routine is disrupted by it.  I won’t go into the painful details – because they’re painful – but it turns out that after years of reading about Aspies who have trouble with organising their daily routines and being grateful that I’m not so affected, I’m actually one of them.  Who knew?

Really, I’m typing all this out because otherwise I’d forget all the things I have to do to prepare myself (and thus alleviate the masses of anxiety I’ll be feeling over the coming few days); this way, I type out a complaint and simultaneously “log” in my brain that I must do X, Y and Z to counter that complaint.  See?  I’m not just moaning.  Well, I am, but it helps.  So there.

I’ve also got a 2-hour-per-week (out of 3) clash between my two optional modules, which I’ve been approved for, but it makes me nervous about being able to manage my time.  Last year there was a single lecture slot each week which I couldn’t attend, simply because of its location, which my In-Between-Lectures Routines wouldn’t allow; I’d not be able to get from one place to the other in the time available and still have enough time to comfortably do everything I needed to do to stay calm.

I pride myself on being proactive, though, and am an expert email-pesterer, so I’ve already done my research and emailed the appropriate person (hopefully) about recording the clash-y lectures using the Shiny New Lecturecast System which is luckily installed in one of the two lecture venues.  I’ve also asked permission, if recording the lectures isn’t going to happen, for my DSA-funded recording equipment to be used in my absence so that I don’t miss any more than I absolutely have to.  So watch this space; my sanity may be saved after all.

I think that’s all I’ve got to blather about for the moment.  Last week’s antics, along with the productivity of this week’s, have yet to be uploaded.  I’m still working on finding a keyboard for my netbook that doesn’t cause my senses problems, so all my blogging is being done via the uni computers.

Still.  I think I’m enjoying this year’s Freshers’ Week more than last year’s, mainly because there’s no obligation to go to anything.  But it’s odd in a different way, because I’m now worrying about potentially ignoring people I know because I can’t recognise faces well at all, especially in crowds like you’ll find – ooh, I don’t know – at universities where there’s free stuff galore all over the place, and new-found independence is being milked left, right and centre.  At least last year I knew that I didn’t know anyone or anything.

I guess I’m just going to have to (deep breath because I hate this) Wait And See.  With any luck, things will sort themselves out soon.  But my favourite way of explaining the not-so-smooth running of my transition (ha ha, blah blah) to the second year is Killy With a Side of Death.

If I’m still alive in a few days, I’ll hopefully be more active with my responding and stuff.  But for now, I’m going to collapse.  Au revoir.

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About JC

I'm a no-longer-nameless trans asexual autistic, chemistry undergraduate at a London university, pronoun enthusiast, amateur photographer and budding proofreader. Son of Optimus. Join me and be amazed. Or just join me. The sense of awe and wonder is optional.
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2 Responses to An Attempted Murder-by-Disorganisation, Perhaps?

  1. Well, I have been very absent lately, so I apologize.
    I am glad that it seems that things will be going smoothly for you soon, even if they aren’t right now. Good luck with classes. I love the fact that your school is so willing to work with you. I know that here in the US, very few universities would be willing to work with you like this. I know that you are definitely putting in your part as well, but most people would assume you were lazy and refuse to help. Even if required by law, they often work to get around supplying the assistance people need.

    • J.C. Prime says:

      No worries – I’ve hardly been present either 😉

      I hope they will be – although there’s still much work to be done logistically! Thank you; I may very well need it. Last year was beyond difficult, but it helped me to learn to adapt, at the very least. They do try, and from what I understand, they have a lot of experience with Aspies in the Chemistry Department (I’m one of several in my year alone) so they’re a lot better there than even in other departments within UCL. We also have some Asperger’s Experts working with the Disability Services, who have published books about Aspies and uni and the like, so they have little excuse not to be educated!

      I think that diagnoses help. If I’d not been diagnosed, I expect that it would have been similar to school; I was moved to an expensive private school following advice from the comprehensive that I was attending at the time, after my parents were convinced that my “needs” would be provided for (ie. they would have more understanding of individual abilities and not let me get bored), but no such luck. I was diagnosed at 16, and up until then, most things were a fight, either by my parents or myself, to get various differences recognised, usually in vain.

      So far, there’s been a lot of sympathy and verbal understanding of my problems, but little practical support; if I need extra help, I still have to do a lot of hoop-jumping (which the social anxiety usually prevents), and sometimes still nothing will come of it. I think I’m lucky enough to have a Failure Phobia, or else I doubt there’d be as much interest in visibly showing support; my perfectionism is such that despite being too anxious to attend the problem-solving group tutorials more than two-thirds of the time, and missing an hour of lectures per week, and having few People to Pester (for the missed notes and/or panic about misunderstanding ambiguous questions), my end-of-year grades proved the point that I’m not lazy, and am capable of motivating myself and doing the extras when necessary. Perfectionism plus no social life plus little interest in a social life equals a potentially-very-boring but hard-working person even despite anxiety, so they probably have less qualms about making allowances as long as I stay focused!

      That was a longer response than I meant it to be, but I am very glad, despite the fact that the entire university system is not set up for People Like Me at all, that I got into such a good university. At the very least, I’m in a place where I’m Not The First, and they’ve seen it all before. The reason I decided to go to UCL was because they were the most interested in helping me get through the interview process, and it was the only interview of several that I actually got through (despite the inevitable panics of course).

      I really will stop typing now; apologies for the incoherence. I’ve got a mass of labs to prepare for… and I shouldn’t put it off any longer, in case I end up killed by the pressure 😉

      -JC

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