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Mid-year exams were done, our break had passed fairly unremarkably and we were back for the slog again. At times it did feel arduous and tiresome, but as the famous saying goes, ‘nothing good comes easy’. That is probably one of the most comforting things I can say to myself in any difficult time, knowing that this is preparation for all the more complex challeneges ahead.
As we continued our classes, our group tutors held sessions where they would offer us feedback. The session would also be a way to find out where we were at mentally, physically and psychologically. The reason I bring these sessions to light is because there is so much I took from that sit-down with my tutor. Not only was I woken up to my own potential, but I was alerted to the fact that if I didn’t harness it, I would lose it!
It was one of those light-bulb moments where you finally gain some direction as to where your life might be heading. Nothing she said was new to me. However, it’s very difficult to explain, but when someone more senior and outside your usual circle of friends and family reminds you of your capabilities, it begins to raise more questions than answers.
The trip down honest self-conversation lane begins and occupies a lot of mental space. Your thoughts become filled with questions such as, ‘why for so long did I doubt myself?’, ‘why didn’t I back myself when it counted?’ and the stereotypical Í’m such an idiot’ also manages to creep in. In the end however, I realised that all this reminiscing and self-questioning was useless. The past is history and I can’t change a single thing about it. The best thing I learnt from the consult, was that honest self-appraisal was crucial.
On a personal level, I would no longer tip-toe around issues and let ‘time’ work it out. There would be no more ‘slipping things under the rug’, I was ready to tackle my demons head on, no matter how long it took. In fact till this very day, I and every other person on this planet are still a work in progress. That will remain until we live our last days, however if you focus on the journey, you might just be pleasantly surprised with what you come across along the way.
As part of our introduction to the new regimen we’d signed up to, our systems were in for the shock of a lifetime. During the orientation period a scenario was put together to brace us for the chaotic nature of the journey ahead.
Lo and behold the dreaded car accident scene on a country road was awaiting. Although it was a fictional representation of what would actually happen, our freshman minds were not ready for such a storm. The only training any of us had undertaken beforehand was a first aid course, which was all this situation would assess. However, the nerves it took to keep calm cannot be underestimated. The description of the case may allow you to fathom why many found it difficult to deal with what was at hand.
Before that, an understanding of us as a cohort may provide some context as to the kind of people dealing with this in the first place. Many of my peers, including myself, have science backgrounds. As you can imagine, scientists are a very unique kind of people. They live in a world of microns, nanometres and even pictometres, which are so small that in some cases they can’t even be seen under a microscope! The world of science, is a world of order. Everything follows a particular process, there is a system that our predecessors, through their research, have determined these micro-particles follow. So the plan is to continuously look for new systems and processes to find order in and amongst disorder.
Therefore, a structured mind that typically is in control of everything it encounters cannot fathom such chaos that is the rural accident scene. The scene was set out on the freeway with a body thrown away from the car, and a family in the car with differing severity of injuries. Of the family, there was a frantically screaming woman that needed to be reassured, an old man with a massive cut across his forehead that was very needy and a young man whose breathing sounded like Darth Vader. There was also the added issue of the screaming woman indicating that she had ‘lost her baby’. Let us not forget also the man (represented by a dummy) that lay on the floor lifeless and unconscious.
Now I hope you can see that orderly minds, see no order in such a situation and that is why many of us struggled to deal with what confronted us at the time. It indeed was a valuable learning experience, but also an indication of the turbulent nature of times ahead. To me it spelled out in bold letters ‘Welcome to Chaos’.