Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Day to the T.

Good evening, kind parents, students, sponsors and all. I am brimming with excitement, so much that I cannot contain. I MUST share my day with you.

I woke up today at a cool 9:04, to a loud text from Gina Saechao. I realized that I had forgotten to set my alarm the previous night, having woken up on top of a book that I was suppose to read. Disheveled and disoriented, I ran from my room to the bathroom in a quick 7 seconds. I brushed my teeth and I sprinted down a total of 45 steps to the Keeney Quad to meet my fellow classmates. However, when I arrived, I realized that another girl that was also suppose to meet us had not gotten there either and I did not feel as bad for waking up late. We walked slowly but surely towards the Verney-Wolley. We walked up, heaving our tired bodies, turning right on Cushing Street. We finally arrived at the Verney-Wolley, and we "tail-gated" some students into the building because we did not want to pull our ID cards out of our purses. We walked through the second set of doors and walked past the kind ID-checker. He slid our IDs through the card-reader and admitted us into the buffet area.

This morning, I was torn between making a waffle which is right next to the sodas or making a bagel, which was on the other side of the building. I settled for a raisin bagel, lightly toasted. I picked up a container of cream cheese and found a seat. The conversation this morning was all about the class we were about to go to and the homework we were suppose to do the previous night. It was all very interesting. After eating my bagel, we gathered all of our belongings and walked slowly towards the Smith building. The weather was beautifully grey today and while we walked, we wondered if the weather would be better tomorrow or the next day.

We finally arrived in room 201 and walked into a room full of intelligent students. The teacher looked at us expectantly and nodded for us to take our seats. We were on time, but everyone else had been 10 minutes early, which encouraged us to decide to wake up earlier tomorrow. We took our seats; I sat next to Courtney and a girl named Karen. She was really nice. The teacher started to lecture about schizophrenia which is the disease that the girl Lori has in the book that we're reading.

Schizophrenia literally means "split mind." The symptoms of schizophrenia are psychosis, hallucinations and hearing voices. The "positive" symptoms (symptoms that ADD things to the patient) are delusions, heightened sensations, neologisms, disorganization, inappropriate feelings, repetitiveness, paranoia, rambling and rhyming of words. The "negative" symptoms (symptoms that TAKE AWAY from the patient) are the loss of feelings, hygiene, motivation, and fluid movement. There is a prodromal phase, which is the beginning phase of schizophrenia. This involves withdrawal from the real world, not showing real feelings, and saying weird things. The next phase is the active phase. This involves the schizophrenic symptoms that I discussed above. Schizophrenia is both inherited and biological, stimulated by environment. It is caused by too much dopamine in the brain, and medication is used to reduce it. However, when too much medication is used and dopamine levels drop too low, Parkinson's disease may be contracted. Treatment to schizophrenia involve major tranquilizers that does not make people feel good; they cause muscle tremors and dystonia in addition to making you feel super groggy. Newer medication has been found to be effective but one of the major side effects is weight-gain.

This discussion was very interesting to me. As I glanced around, I saw that everyone was taking notes. Normally, this would not be the case. In the classroom environments that I am use to, I see people with disinterested faces. However, today, I saw that everyone was interested and actively participating. It made me feel as if this is the way it is suppose to be.

After the lecture about schizophrenia, we broke into our discussion groups. I walked down 17 stairs to the floor that was one below the one we were on and walked into the discussion room. We talked mainly about the book we were reading and we tried to relate the book to the lecture we had just listened to. It was all very interesting, my TA had passed back the papers that we had written to her last night with her comments. She says that we are improving, which makes me feel like I am improving.

At 12:08, we walked back up the stairs (another 17 steps) to room 201. We talked about the way certain people learn. It was interesting because it helped me identify the way I really learn and the way I can help myself learn better.

At 12:46, we walked back out of the Smith building and we hung around deciding what to do. We ate lunch at the Verney-Wolley. Today, I had a salad, along with a little macaroni and cheese. It was some good food and I'm glad we didn't have to pay for it. We walked towards the dorms, and decided to read more. We ran upstairs to the Poland lounge which was a total of 45 steps. It was a workout, in itself. We each chose our seats like we usually did and we sat around. We read more about Lori and her schizophrenic mind.

Schizophrenia scares me because it is very much like Lori is two people. One moment, she would be calm and subdued but the next moment, she can be crazy and uncalled for. I don’t understand how someone’s mood can swing so easily and sporadically. Trying to imagine myself in her shoes was scary; she has no control. She doesn’t even know that she doesn’t have control and she thinks that she has to follow what the voices tell her to do. She doesn’t think that anything is wrong, she doesn’t believe that she has an illness until the very end. She doesn’t feel like she doesn’t have any choice; she feels like she HAS to mutilate herself, she feels like she HAS to insult other people, she feels like she HAS to commit suicide. This scares me because she’s in denial. Everybody is in denial, once in a while. Does that mean that reality is subjective? What is reality? If reality is subjective, what makes it REAL? Because there is no doubt that the Voices are real to Lori but at the same time, there is no doubt that the Voices are not real. If reality is subjective, who makes the standards for normal? And real?

We were suppose to finish the book today. We all sat around discussing Lori and her life. What would happen if we were like that? What would that be like? It was interesting conversation. After a while, we decided to go to the gym again. The Olney-Margolies Athletic Center was a far walk but we worked out hard. We went into the facility and some of the girls settled on the bikes while some of us ran around the indoor track. After running for 26 minutes, I made my way up 9 steps, into the weight room. I began lifting weights to workout my triceps.

We left at 5:13 and we made our way to the Verney-Wolley. After eating chips and dip, which they had served before, we walked back to the dorms to shower and to continue studying. We arrived in the Poland lounge again and read for a couple of hours before deciding to call it quits.

Here I am now, blogging to you devoted readers. I truly hope to receive feedback and comments. It's amazing to know that you all are amazed by the days that we have, and it is only our duty to give back to you who have devoted so much time to our success. I hope tomorrow will be as eventful as today was. More to come later.


Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

Yes,,Cynthia I read each of the blogs that you write. I also mentioned all of you at the school board meeting last night. Tomorrow, I am on a plane and will be with you for the next three days, so get ready Mr. Ramsey is coming to town.

Keep up the good work. For me, it is refreshing to see the humility coming out of this group. Last year was a different ballgame, but I see that all of you have a healthy respect for Brown University and this program. I am wondering how you compare UPENN, where you were last year with Brown. Let me know your thoughts. How do you compare that program with this program. I would love to also hear Courtney's feelings about all of this.

Thanks again and please do your reading.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

Don Gosney said...


Like Charles, I also read your blogs and we discuss them at great length. There are some comments that we can write into these responses while others we must keep to ourselves. [Does this now having you wondering what it is that we might be saying about you behind your back? Is the paranoia setting in? Are you hearing the voices in your head telling you things? Are you sure that any of this is real?]

Ah, the mind is a fun thing to mess with.

I worry about you, Cynthia. You're counting the steps--and then reporting on that number? You're noting the exact minute that you arrive and leave?

And hey, by the way, those meals aren't free. YOU may not have to pay for them but someone back home sure did. So chow down, Cynthia. Go for that extra raisin bagel and really slather on the cream cheese.

I truly did love reading about your wake up call this morning. It really hit close to home with me. I stay up all night and have ALWAYS had trouble with waking on time. One time I was headed down to San Diego bright and early on a Saturday morning but I woke up literally 27 minutes before the plane was to take off at SFO. I bolted out of bed, ran through the shower, violated several laws of physics as I sped across the Bay Bridge, bolted out of my car, hurdled obstacles inside the terminal and reached the plane just as they were closing the door. [Obviously, this was long ago and pre 9/11.] Let's keep in mind that SFO is close to 28 miles away from Richmond. I know I came close to proving Einstein's Theory on Relativity that morning when I nearly surpassed the speed of light down I-80.

I have tried to mend my errant ways and now try very hard to arrive well in advance of when I'm supposed to be there. It helps guarantee that I get the seats I want, an advantageous place in line and even gives me the air of superiority for when my partners arrive late (or just later than me).