Apr 04, 2012 0 Share

A Day of Diversions


Hand holding remote control pointed at TV screen.
iStockphoto

Last Sunday, I had something that I have not had in a very long time. I had a day of rest. Well, almost. It was not entirely a respite from my usual college work; I still had a few writing assignments to work on, including a group project which required a lot to complete. I did, however, get some welcome hours off in the morning and during the evening to let my mind rest. There has been very little time for rest during this semester, and I especially valued the free time I got during that day.

In the morning, I expected I would have to do some schoolwork, but I was surprised when my family instead went out shopping for groceries. I was a bit thrown by the change in my schedule because we normally try to take such trips during a weekday when there are not as many other people out. With my sensory issues and spatial processing problems, shopping itself can be a challenge for me. Also, it is my responsibility to push the grocery cart—a simple thing for most people, but not for me. So, my concerns regarding the schoolwork which I had yet to complete soon transferred to worrying about pushing the grocery cart instead. I have trouble navigating the narrow aisles and judging distances between me and other people and their carts. I also have trouble coping with the noise in a store even on a slow day, so when it’s a busy time, I really have to concentrate and stay focused on what I am doing and what is going on around me. My parents stay close so that they can help me navigate around other people and any other obstacles that pop up in front of me by holding the front of the cart and pointing the way for me to go as I need it. With their help, I usually do just fine. They have explained to me that it is important that I learn to do my shopping under all kinds of circumstances. We do shop repeatedly at the same stores and they make a point to teach me the layout of each of the stores so that I am more familiar with the location of specific items that we use. Three stores in three hours and we were done. With that task done and a new book in hand, I relaxed in the car on the way home which provided me a small window of ease knowing my school work awaited me.

I worked for a bit on my writing assignments in the afternoon. The major objective for the day was putting the finishing touches on a proposal for a research project. This proposal was a very different form of writing than what I am normally used to doing and because it was a group project and I had to collaborate with three of my classmates via the internet to complete it, it was a challenge to finish. We worked long hours on it, and I had to really concentrate on my communication skills so that I was clearly understood by everyone involved as I have chosen to accept the position of group leader because I feel it is an opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone. I have never had an opportunity to work in a group situation academically before because of my being home schooled, so I wanted to challenge myself with this project. I was glad to finally see it come together. 

After working on this assignment and some others for a few hours, the evening was capped off by going to my best friend’s house in order to watch wrestling. We had actually arranged my visit some time before, but I had not expected that it would come in the midst of an especially taxing work period for me. This break was greatly needed and enjoyed. I have been to my friend’s house quite a few times now, but it took me a while to learn where everything was in his house. When I am in a new environment, I want to learn where all of the important rooms and objects are right away so I can navigate around without too much trouble. My friend and his family have helped me become acquainted with their home, so I am very comfortable there now. So, for the second time that day, I was able to take my mind away from schoolwork and simply enjoy a few hours away from my responsibilities. My friend and I both enjoy watching wrestling, and it is usually one of the first things we talk about whenever we are together. As we watched the show, we cheered and jeered the various wrestlers, we discussed what was happening on the show and in our lives, and we forgot about our worries for a bit. It was one of the happiest times I have had in quite a while.

I understand the necessity of taking a break when I am overwhelmed. I try to concentrate on one assignment at a time, but sometimes my mind wanders and I think about everything that is coming due at once and it overwhelms me. This is when I need to stop my work and take a break. Breaks help me refocus and then I can get back to my work.

I have less than eight weeks left in my last semester, and will be spending most of the remainder of my time concentrating on completing my school work. From now on it will be what my parents call “crunch time.” That’s alright with me. I will take breaks when I need them and finish my college career.