For the full story behind this, see this.
Days 11-19: Wednesday 5th - Thursday 13th October
With the start of term approaching, things had become busy. I was focussing on making progress with my project work- or trying to anyway.
My GP assured me that as a side effect, my jumpiness would subside over time.
While at the Medical Practice, I discovered something annoying: starting this month, there will a £10 charge to process Extenuating Circumstances forms - i.e. for my doctor to confirm that I’m not making up my illness/symptoms. I do concede that’s in line with what most GPs would probably charge for supplying similar forms of evidence.
Because I tend to think ahead, I usually put a lot of thought into graduate jobs. So, unusually for me, I hadn’t been thinking about it for a while because I’ve just become focussed on doing well this year. Yesterday I popped in to the SSE Placement/Graduate Fair for a bit. It’s mainly for Part 2 students looking for placements but I was on campus and I had some time to kill. I could be imagining it but it feels smaller this year. I’ve had my eye on FDM for a while now so I had a chat with them to get a bit more information. I’m seriously considering it as an option because it would be nice to gain professional qualifications and practical experience which I rather desire.
Freedom and flexibility
Still, it’s annoying because they never charged anything before to do these forms. Hopefully I won’t have to resort to Extenuating Circumstances forms at all this year. Yes, that’s what I think at the start of every year. I aim for it and hope it will be so. This year though, I really think it may actually be the case- but not because of the disincentive of a £10 charge per form. I think I’ll be able to get through this year without any ECFs because I have a lot more freedom and flexibility this year.
Yesterday I met the new “mentor” I’ve been assigned by the uni. There was a discussion on scheduling or pacing of work. which I believe is largely missing the point because my wellness/illness cannot be scheduled. All I can do is work around it. And to the extent that I can pace my working, I do that anyway already.
Now, the times that I’m feeling well there is nothing stopping me and I will plough my way through an assignment. That doesn’t mean I don’t know to take breaks or that I will overwork myself to the point of exhaustion. I’ve lived with M.E. long enough to know better. Something which they seemed keen to reiterate was that I shouldn’t leave things to the last minute. Well, duh! I would actually always aim for an assignment to be completed by 1-2 weeks before the deadline, at the latest.
The problem is that if I’m really not well then however much leeway I plan in, it still won’t be enough. Case in point: I should have fully completed a draft version of my UI design for my project but in the time that I would have done it over the summer (after resits), I haven’t been well enough.
They seemed keen that I have some sort of rigid schedule planned out on paper. That’s just not how I work- I literally can’t work like that. I have to be flexible because I have no way of predicting if or when I’ll be too ill to work. I will work as much as I can (within reason, of course) when I’m up to it so that I won’t fall behind when I can’t do any work. I prefer to plan fluidly. For a plan on paper to be fluid in that way, I’d have to keep revising it. It would just become paperwork. It would be a chore. It wouldn’t work.
If I miss deadlines, it’s not because I’ve not planned properly. It’s because I’ve been ill over such an extended period. No amount of planning will give me back time that I’ve lost to illness.
This year will be better because I only have two hours of timetabled lectures a week while the rest of the time I will be free to work on my project.
I’m not against scheduling. I guess I just haven’t found a way that fits my style. I can organise myself well enough. I just need enough flexibility to do it.