Friday, 5 December 2014

RQ Series: Regulars and Take Ns- Confessions of entry-level writing DPhil student

Yes, let me confess that I have been planning to blog since the term started - because today is the last day of academic term in Oxford, I must! So I will blog on why I have not been blogging regularly (not that I said I would be- but it occurred to me, I got something to say today- finally!)
Regulars and Take Ns are on my mind. Regulars are those things I have always done in Oxford since 2011, but now are on the risk of extinction because I no longer do them regularly. Take Ns are those things I take on as an attempt to fill the gap left by the regulars, but since ‘they don’t really fit’; I may drop them as soon as I take them on. Let me share with you two regulars that have suffered, and a couple of Take Ns.
Regular One- Yoga- Yes! I was I an ardent yoga learner since 2011 until a few months ago. Every Thursday 5PM, I would be at the MCR breathing in and out, as if the world would never end if I kept breathing! I was a beginner doing the simplest Vinyasa yoga stretches moves for an hour. I can’t believe how I survived that. How can I be so keen to sit for an hour just breathing and stretching? Well, I am told it has several health benefits- and I agree. But, I have since the beginning of this academic year not remembered my yoga classes. I even moved my yoga mat closer to my bed so that I could remember to plan for yoga. That has not worked either. So, unfortunately, my regular Yoga been dropped. L

Take N1-Exercise- Instead of yoga, I found myself looking for something more vigorous; something that needed more of my energy - or maybe something that could give me an energy boost? Not sure what it was, but I found myself seeking out that trainer- guessed it. Yes, it was the gym trainer! For the first time in my young life, I found myself fascinated by the gym instructor and even purposing to attend the gym regularly. One motivation has been the proximity of the gym to my residence as I have the privilege of neighbouring a sports centre. I started my gym classes, and to add on, I took on circuit workout sessions! Can you believe that move from yoga to circuit? I definitely I am on another level of life! On days I did not do this, I took on jogging – actually, a regular which always comes back when the weather is good, and the academic tides are rough.
Anyway, the story short, I dropped circuit as soon as I took it up, and I am still struggling with making regular the gym sessions. L
Regular Two - swallowship and fellowship. The African in me is found in cooking and eating together with people. Believe me, this is the source of my energy most times; if I don’t see people, I don’t eat, I will lose the sense of life. I have not really dropped this regular, but it has been fatally affected this year, partly because I now have access to a kitchen the size of the bathroom area and a social space as big as two yoga mats. That limits the number of people I can invite to enjoy my cooking or just to have a healthy chat and laughter. Not intimidated though, I still manage to keep healthy chats in the kitchen, share dinner with a few friends- one at a time. However, this is also limited by the fact that- I am keeping to my list of most promising errands – read, write, eat, rest. L

Take N2- ‘Sample everything; Commit to none’ - to still keep with my principle of regularly meeting people, I have resorted to regular teas, coffees, and dinners. (Oh no! Did I say dinner? Because that’s a lie - I have not been going out that often to have dinner with people. Instead, I make simple meals after long days and enjoy my cosy flat room, sometimes over a nice silly novel that my niece would also hate reading). The teas and coffees are actually true- they do happen, and will become my new regular. In this take N, I also include the not-so-regular seminars I sign up to attend. I find myself excited about something, and then register, but on the actual day, I cancel. This is how my mind goes every morning when I am preparing my schedule and have to deal with seminars- 1) I got x errands today; 2) Which one is urgent?; 2) Which one is mandatory?; 3) Which of these is a repetition of something I did in the last three years?; 4) What can be postponed?; 5) What relevance do they have to my DPhil?; 6) Are there other important things I would do instead? ….well, as you can see, by the time I have answered all these questions, I am usually left with two errands for the day – 1) Read and write and 2) Eat and rest (& what else will make this possible). If by chance I end up into one of the seminars, there are three chances - 1) I will be excited by and might stay to the end; 2) I might stay to the end, but really I am just not into it- but I want to lean in there; or 3) I get really switched off by the seminar and walk out as soon as I walk in. The latter has been true several times this term. I have found myself walking out of the seminar room five minutes into listening. I am no longer intrigued that I intend to spend an hour listening, and not adding value to my DPhil- so I walk out.
Huh! So, just maybe, this blog has been suffering from my enthusiasm for certain regulars and Take Ns!

1 comment:

  1. the length of this blog, and perhaps the time spent on it, indirectly correlates with the length of work done today towards the Dphil - hard times :)