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Deku

Journey to my white coat

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As detailed in my introduction post, I've quit gaming as of today. I'll use this journal as a means to center myself and keep from relapsing.

Uninstalled Runescape and League of Legends, and deleted my accounts. Spent the rest of today watching Hunter x Hunter and thinking about my goals for the upcoming semester. So far what I have is:

1. Attend all classes and get a 4.0 GPA

2. Go to the gym at least 3 times a week

3. Read a book related to the medical profession every two weeks

4. Post here every day, and spend 10-15 minutes daily browsing the posts of others. Finish working through Respawn.

5. Find a part-time job on campus

6. Find one (or two) meaningful volunteer activities

Started working on goal 3 today by checking out "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande and reading the introduction.

That's all for today. Going to try and get some shut-eye before hitting the books in the morning.

 

 

Edited by Deku
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Today was a bit of a letdown. It's 1 am and I'm just now getting ready to head to bed. I have to be on campus by 8 tomorrow morning, so I've already set myself up for failure. A big part of that was how much time I spent mindlessly surfing the web today--I guess quitting games doesn't necessarily guarantee productivity right off the bat. I'll have to be careful with how much time I squander in the future. 

On the plus side, another reason why I'm going to bed so late is that I refused to sleep until I finished everything I said I was going to do today (however little it actually was). By my standards it was actually a fairly positive day--got my hair cut, submitted my resume to a prospective employer, read a chapter of Being Mortal, and got some cleaning done. I guess that's definitely some sign of progress.

What I learned today: I spend waaay too much time mindlessly surfing the internet, even when I'm not gaming. I really have to keep a lid on it, especially since it has such a negative effect on my productivity. Will think of ways to do so in my free time in the next few days.

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Focus on the positives. If you were gaming it's likely that you would not have got most (or all) of those things done. One day at a time. Reflect and see where you can improve and always celebrate the small wins - they are crucial in maintaining momentum.

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Highs and lows today. On the plus side, I managed to get myself out of bed at 6 in the morning, and even had a reasonably productive day of studying running on no breakfast and minimal sleep. Choosing to work in the open study floor of the school library was key to today's success; I suspect the fact that literally dozens of people could see my computer screen at any given moment helped to hold me accountable and minimized time spent screwing around on the internet.

On the minus side, my lack of sleep definitely did limit my study time today, and I was only able to grind out a few good hours of work before I was absolutely at my limit. Even at my best I've historically never been good with sleep deprivation, so I guess that makes it all the more important that I get enough sleep each night. I'll be testing the bedtime app on my iPhone and seeing if it can help me achieve my sleep goals: bed by 10:00 and a solid 7.5-8 hours each night.

School's finally in session tomorrow--can't wait!

What I learned today: Three years of hard gaming have really taken their toll on my already pitiful social skills, and today it was unbelievable how hard it was for me to do basic things like maintain eye contact, speak slowly and not stutter. These are all non-negotiable skills to have as a physician, so moving forward I need to make every effort to talk to more people and utilize every human interaction as an opportunity for improvement. 

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First day of grad school today, and maybe it was the sleep deprivation talking but I felt a bit underwhelmed. Overall the professors and other students don't seem very strong, and there doesn't seem like there's too much in the curriculum that will help me in my path to being a physician. A little disappointed, but hoping it'll pick up as the year goes by. On the bright side, the employer I sent my resume to a couple days ago responded and things on that end seem to be moving positively for now. Fingers crossed I won't need to be pinching pennies in the near future.

What I learned today: How to use an inverted phase-contrast microscope!

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School was a bit better today, although the intensity of my course schedule is already starting to show in how much work is piling up. Personally I'm enjoying all the work though, as it fills up my time and keeps my gaming urges to a minimum. I'm amazed at how much better a fit my mediocre public school is for me than the elite institution where I did undergrad: the professors are much nicer, the classes are better taught, and it's so much easier to find common ground with my fellow classmates, many of whom are also looking for a fresh start. It's made me somewhat optimistic about the future, and I can't wait to see how much I gain grow and improve during the next year of my life.

What I learned today: I'm timid and not very good at standing up for myself. I was hitting the books in the silent area of the library today, where no conversations or phone calls are allowed, and two girls sitting at the table next to mine were having a very audible conversation about boys and gossip as though the library was a damn coffee shop. I wish I could say I got up and asked them both to take their conversation elsewhere, but the truth is I sat there for over an hour trying to tune them out before packing up my stuff and heading out. I don't know why I did that--I had an entire speech worked out in my head, just my legs refused to get up and walk over. That really kind of bothers me.

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My lack of quality sleep over the last week is really starting to add up, and it was hard to get through classes today as I kept zoning in and out. The weekend honestly couldn't come soon enough; I'm pretty spent and could use the extra time to sleep.

What I learned today: How to grow and passage cell lines, a fundamental research skill in Biology that I somehow never got the chance to learn. Glad I'm making it up now!

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Spent a lot of today chilling at home and was hit with the worst case of gaming urges I've gotten since starting this journal. If I hadn't spent so much effort beforehand uninstalling my games, blocking sites and deleting my characters then I could easily have relapsed today. It's a really scary thought and I will definitely try to minimize my time at home as much as possible in the future.

What I learned today: STAY OUT OF THE HOUSE!!

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Despite a lack of a consistent sleep schedule I'm starting to fall into a more or less productive rhythm now, which is really helping to stay on top of my somewhat rigorous course schedule. This essentially includes breakfast, followed by class from 9-2, followed by lunch, coffee, and a study session in the library until about 7 or 8. At this point, go home, eat dinner, and spend a few hours reading, watching anime, etc. before turning in for the night. One big problem I'm having is that I tend to get a little too into anime, and stay up until midnight or even later watching...which really affects my sleep schedule negatively and causes me to be exhausted the next day after classes. I'm seeing an anime detox in my near future if I can't control myself.

Oh, headed to a mixer tomorrow for my school's grad students, so that should be fun!

What I learned today: More like a collective lesson over the past week or so, but I've really learned the importance of a solid sleep schedule. Getting a crappy night's sleep really snowballs out of control very quickly: first you oversleep your alarm, then you skip out on breakfast because you're so late, then you're so exhausted and hungry you can't pay attention in class, and after class is over you have no energy left to study. You feel like the walking dead so you take a nap, oversleep that alarm, now you've not only burned a bunch of hours you could have spent doing something, but you've also messed up your sleep schedule which will take days to fix. Tl;Dr: Sleeping at a consistent time each  night is super important and I really need to do this if I'm going to be successful in the long run. Would welcome any tips that y'all have on how to get this done, because I have really been struggling with it ever since school started.

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Got a job bartending near campus! Need an evening job for some extra $$, and I figure bartending will really help me increase my human interactions and improve my social skills. A little nervous about how tight my schedule is looking at this point, but I really do need the money, so oh well. I'll be starting tomorrow night!

The mixer I went to today was okay. Plenty of chill dudes and quite a lot of cute girls, but I really had a hard time starting conversations and keeping them going. I guess I still have a lot to learn regarding social skills, but I'm glad that I went to the mixer anyways. Going alone to a party isn't something I would have done if I was still gaming, and I managed to get a lot of reps of human interaction in. I guess that's something to be happy about.

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Spent 5 hours working the bar today and made 200 bucks over the course of the night (over half from tips). It was so much fun! Perhaps it was the position of power I was in, but upon putting on the white shirt and black tie I was suddenly immune to awkwardness or social anxiety. I effortlessly conversed and joked around with guys and girls who I would normally be too intimidated to even be around, and didn't feel the least bit tired despite not having the chance to sit down or get a drink of water for the entirety of my shift. It was truly an amazing experience.

That being said, I don't think this job is for me. My academic commitments keep piling up, and I'm frankly not sure I'll be able to stay out until midnight multiple nights a week. A big reason I was so unsuccessful in college (gaming aside) is that I took on too many commitments, and as a result ended up doing none of them particularly well. Also, cleaning and taking out the trash was not nearly as fun as fun as manning the bar. Something foul from one of the trash bags got all over my favorite pair of pants, and I'm a bit miffed by that.

What I learned today: I used to think that I was just born a loser/awkward person, but today's really made me think that maybe it is just all in my head. I think I'm going to try and live my life without fear from now on, as today is proof that I can be someone that people find interesting. I hope someday soon I won't need a white shirt and black tie to be that guy anymore.

Edited by Deku

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6 hours ago, Deku said:

What I learned today: I used to think that I was just born a loser/awkward person, but today's really made me think that maybe it is just all in my head.

This is spot on. I find that I can change my state and therefore, personality, by day if I do certain things. Or even in an instant - you can do this by just changing your physiology. How you hold your shoulders, how you keep eye contact, how you walk and stand, all influence your self-esteem and mental state massively. The long-term thing to do is to change the overall mindset so that it's automatic. Just being conscious of it is a big improvement.

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In my molecular biology lab class, we've spent the last week growing and feeding cell lines. Before starting lab today, the professor (Dr. Khatib) called the class to attention and said, "Good news, your cells generally look great, except for one person who had some interesting results. We're going to use him as an example today,  and that person is Deku...

She then proceeded to explain how my cells were the most overgrown of the entire class: while everyone else's had formed a beautiful scattered lawn over their surfaces, mine had overtaken every surface and then some, forming multiple crowded layers. "Can anyone tell me what Deku might have done wrong during the last lab for his cells to look like that?" Dr. Khatib asked. For the next 10 minutes, the class became an open forum for discussion into the various ways I could have fucked up. I tried to smile as though the whole situation was something funny, but on the inside, I was dying with a mixed bag of embarrassment and disappointment. If I was doing so poorly in a mediocre graduate program, how could I ever expect to get into medical school?

My biggest takeaway from this experience is that I need to increase my academic focus. I've made decent strides thus far into improving my social skills, but I need to keep in mind that it's all worthless if I don't absolutely kill it on the school front. The ultimate goal is medical school, and to get there I need to be the top student in my classes. I may not be the smartest or most talented guy out there, but that just makes it that much more important for me to work harder than everyone else.

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Almost two weeks since I last played a game now, and it's become noticeably easier to study and get shit done (in the library that is. I still can't study worth a shit at home). With my earbuds and a decent supply of coffee I can work for hours, with hunger being my only real limiting factor. If I can find a way to get myself to pack food I really think I could go well into the night and achieve unreal productivity. I was lucky enough to sign out a locker in the library at the start of the year, so storage won't be a problem--just need to find the discipline to meal prep something every night when I get home.

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Nice! It looks like you are really making gains in your productivity, congrats! What kind of strategy do you have/are thinking about for meal prep? I've done a bunch of different approaches to meal prep over the years and at some point I've always abandoned them, so I'm always interested in what others find works for them

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48 minutes ago, whydoyouloveme said:

Nice! It looks like you are really making gains in your productivity, congrats! What kind of strategy do you have/are thinking about for meal prep? I've done a bunch of different approaches to meal prep over the years and at some point I've always abandoned them, so I'm always interested in what others find works for them

Thanks! I think for now I'm going to go simple: sandwiches + salad, protein shake + banana, stuff like that. Anything more complicated than that and I think I'm gonna crash and burn out of sheer laziness.

What's worked for you?

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We all have different needs from our food, e.g. I can eat the same thing every day ad infinitum and be fine (I do like variation, I just don't need it) while many of my friends would be bored to tears by the second or at least third day and so that approach would not work for them. So you've got to figure out what you need from your food. I think your simple approach is the best, especially to start. The meal plan that worked the longest and best for me was to buy protein in bulk (pretty much whatever is on sale, usually chicken thighs and then every week or so I would do pork or beef just to mix it up in terms of nutritional value) and freeze a bunch, so I would have at least a couple weeks worth. Then I would buy enough veggies for a few days, and about two days a week I would prep my meals (and they were usually really basic, I would just season the protein and cook a batch in the oven and make salads with the veggies and bake a bunch of starchy veggies, usually sweet potatoes) so that there would never be a day where I would have to make my food for that particular day. There are many days I don't feel like cooking and so having stuff ready was a godsend for those days, and if the reverse was the case I would either not eat or eat something crappy like fast food. Anyways, that is what worked the best for me in the past, I've experimented a lot with more complex meal prep but that all would fall apart relatively fast. 

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Library is closed this weekend for labor day, and as a result my productivity is shot. Got a little done, but spent most of my time browsing random videos on Crunchyroll. Gah...

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For the first time in my life a girl asked me out today. (O__O) Ended up shooting her down because honestly I can't see myself ever considering her as more than just a friend. I hope I never have to reject another girl again, it really felt like shit knowing I probably broke her heart.

Other than that, business as usual today. Read a very fascinating paper in which researchers used stem cells to model the Parkinson's disease mechanism in the human midbrain. 

Also went on a run today for the first time in forever! It's not quite at my peak level of fitness, but certainly better than I was expecting. Will work to improve pace and distance as time goes on!

All in all Labor Day weekend wasn't super productive, but I'm glad I was able to salvage it a little today. Psyched for when the school library reopens tomorrow, and already have my food for tomorrow packed and ready.

That's all for now, Deku signing off!

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Edited by Deku
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Another rough day in Molecular Biology lab as I made several big mistakes today on today's assignment (transfection). I don't think I would have cared so much (the professor has emphasized that the purpose of the class is to learn, rather than to rush through all the assignments) except for the fact that all my mistakes will probably go on to hurt the assignments of my lab partner and others in the class through no fault of their own. I think part of the reason why I make so many mistakes is that I'm talking too much and having way too much fun, which results in me becoming careless in my experiments and fucking up stupid things. Once again, I really need to improve my academic focus.

There's this EXTREMELY pretty girl in the class who I've hesitated to write about for a while now because it would make me accountable for how the situation develops, thus exposing this forum to the giant idiot that I am. I don't know a whole lot about her, but from the one brief (and extremely awkward) encounter where she talked to me in front of the lab lockers she seems to be smart and kind, and certainly more than just another pretty face. I'm a bit conflicted as to what to do about the whole thing. Frankly, between the constant experiment failures, the public forum about my subpar cell culture, and my general clumsiness/awkwardness/insipid humor I don't think I have any sort of chance with her at all. Historically I've also never been good at doing well in a class while simultaneously trying to brainstorm ways to talk to attractive classmates. With all this in mind, I guess the best decision would be to realize that there are a ton of fish in the ocean and just focus on doing well in the class. It's a bit disappointing but hopefully if I just work hard at improving myself and my situation the romantic side of my life will just take care of itself.

The only reservation I have with this approach is that I've literally never managed to summon the balls to ask a girl out in my entire life, and if I let this girl pass as well I wonder if this trend will ever end. I'm a bit tired of letting fear control so many of my life decisions, and this might be a real opportunity to change all that. Even if I got pitifully shot down, I think just being brave enough to put myself out there would be pretty big for my self esteem.

I dunno. Thoughts?

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Two posts in a day? What?

Making this post to commemorate my victory over laziness today. Didn't get a good night's sleep last night so I was pretty tired today, but even so I managed to power through and get quite a lot done. Caught up on my lab notebook entries, went to the gym, attended a lecture, had lunch with a friend...basically did a lot of productive shit that I would never have been able to do if I still played League and RS. The achievement for today that I'm most proud of, however, is my victory over the research paper "Th17 Lymphocytes Induce Neuronal Cell Death in a Human iPSC-Based Model of Parkinson’s Disease." 

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My stem cell professor assigned this reading for the class' journal club tomorrow, and it was a real struggle--despite being relatively short in length, it was so dense and chalked full of abstruse language/concepts that reading even a single page felt like an eternity. I highly doubt many of my classmates will have read it by tomorrow, but I am excited to report that I did it--every single goddam word. With notes. 

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Tl;Dr: It's amazing how much shit you can get done when you don't have stupid games to leech away all your time.

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Hey @Deku,

6 hours ago, Deku said:

I dunno. Thoughts?

I went through a hard time when I tried to have a relationship with a girl while I was addicted. It didn't went good. Damage were done in both ways. I don't know if I should say we were "lucky" because we had just started to date when we parted ways, but we both were excited in the beginning.

What I want to say is that you have to be in a good mood to start and mantain a relationship. Actually both persons have. So if you are still struggling with something as big as games addiction (OR whatever makes you struggle, it doesn't has to be just the addiction), I would suggest to wait until you feel like it's not such a big deal anymore. If you can't keep your feelings inside you, be sincere with the girl and tell her what you feel and why you can't be in a relationship right now. That could help too.

You wrote that a girl asked you out the other day. That means you are attractive. So don't worry about other chances, they will come someday and you will be prepared for it.

Hope this helps.

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