I discussed Nijmegen with several folks this week. Most concluded that really nothing’d become clear while attending university’s info thing. Well, one thing has: the fact that I don’t like communication studies, and the reasons why I don’t allow me to explore other possibilities. The way it used to be – and still is, sometimes -, is that I pretty much defy any suggestion related to a possible major. Even last week, I acted pretty defiant when Evert (who went to Nijmegen with me) tried to get clear what info I would be looking for there, cause really, why in the world did I even want to go to stupid Nijmegen? I’m still not sure, but I base my opinions on studies on why I like or don’t like them. I cannot, for example, say that I don’t like Nijmegen, cause really, I have no reason not to: the city is great and so is the university ambiance. The only “real” reason I would have is that I simply didn’t want to go to university, and there would need to be some underlying reason for that. I don’t have such a reason for university in general – and, in fact, most graduates from my type of high school who do, have really poor arguments -, yet I do have these reasons for certain university programmes, like communication studies or English.
Is “realism” involved in the studying thing? In one sense, yes, it is, but not to the extent that I used to think it was or that it is with the living arrangements question. For example, “realism” is involved to a certain degree in my decision not to study English, in that I think the enormous load of literary (fiction) reading required is too much for me, cause I’m a pretty slow reader. However, this is complicated (or rather, simplified) by the fact that I don’t really like fiction reading, cause, if I did, I could’ve compensated my slow reading by reading my required books in my spare time, like I did with one of the tasks for job field orientation (I find intelligence tests fascinating, so didn’t really need to schedule time to seek information on them) and my psychology paper (even though I haven’t yet started writing, the same goes for seeking info). So, yes, “realism” is involved, in that I might’ve been more eager to study English (or another language) if I were a better reader (like I chose Latin as my classical language in high school instead of Greek cause I was much better at it), but I might also be more likely to study a language if I liked fiction reading (if I weren’t required to do a classical language in high school, I might not have taken one).
For a long time – and still sometimes -, however, I perceive “realism” to be more involved than it is. This is probably because, ever since October, 2005, “realism” has been all I looked for without caring about what I wanted or didn’t want – I wanted to be “realistic”. Yet why would I ever have doubted studying American studies, if it were only about “realism”? Sure, the literature part, but that was not what I initially said: I just really wasn’t sure I liked it. Then why did – and do – I concentrate so much on my abilities and what is “realistic” re studying? And why in the world does this go so far as to wondering whether I might only be fit to be a receptionist or some other stereotypical blind people’s job, if any job at all, while I see myself that I now study at college? Sure, I’m a part-time student and this is financially unpleasant cause I am not eligible for student financial aid, and it is impossible in certain areas of study cause you would have to work in the field to study, but still. What I want to make clear is, really, “realism” is overemphasized by me in the studying thing.
There is, of course, still that reasoning of mine that says that certain images of me just don’t belong in college – or that there is no reason why they should be there, cause they won’t get a job afterwards anyway (for other reasons than the 75% unemployment rate amongst the blind). You see, when I’m at school, I have no difficulty functioning normally (apart from the few “locked up inside” instances) and I can have pretty normal discussions with people here at training home, but my behaviour problems are still there, and they still make me feel that really, I’m not capable of functioning in daily life. Of course, this is quite a bit a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I find it really hard to break that cycle. My difficulties are still there, and they are still worse than they used to be – at least, my communicative difficulties are (I’m not sure if my frustration tolerance problems are still worse than they used to be). When I think rationally, I remember when I started having major communicative difficulties when I was distressed. Of course, the “locked up inside” feeling had already been there for many years, but the situation where I have difficulty finding words and have difficulty speaking even when I do, didn’t start till sometime in May. Still, when I notice this behaviour in myself, I feel really kind of stupid and feel I really ain’t as capable as I think I am. This is mostly, cause the word-finding difficulties usually are more extensive than the “locked up inside” thing, and so, while the “locked up inside” stuff decreased quite a bit during the spring of 2006, there is no reason to celebrate when word-finding difficutlies that are much more noticed by other people (even fellow clients, who say I have a speech impairment while I don’t) have come instead. Man, sometimes I wish I still got “locked up inside” in all the instances when I now have difficulty finding the right words, cause the former is much less obviously a problem – people accuse me of ignoring them, but well – than the latter and the latter is much more frustrating, cause, even when I try to speak, I still don’t get my message across.
Then there are the behaviour issues. No matter whether they’re worse than they used to be or not, they’re there, and they influence how I see myself: how can someone with my behavioural problems be in college, or why should she be there anyway? Even though I’ve not acted out at Saxion, I cannot separate the “me” from Saxion and the “me” from home completely. Well, usually when I’m at Saxion, I can, cause I never really think of my behaviour problems, and when I’m acting out, I can, cause I really don’t see my school achievements then, but I cannot when I’m at home and in a non-dysfunctional state. Then, I see all this as one “me”, and one “me” that cannot be. Man, in June and July, when I first found out about this programme, I hoped that, cause I found it interesting and challenging, it would help me feel better about my situation, cause I realized I was capable of going to college and it wasn’t cause it was a duty, but cause I liked it. And, indeed, the folks say my behaviour got better, but my confusion did not.
My confusion is less as far as studying is concerned, cause I’ve stopped caring only about what my parents want me to major in (ie. philosophy, English) and started caring about what I like or don’t like. However, I still feel confused when I realize what my situation might be like where other things than studying are concerned, or when studying seems too difficult. Is this all about self-fulfilling prophecies? I hope so, but I find it hard to believe.