The Guinea Pig
You know, for some odd reasons, I have been the perfect guinea pig for all sorts of ‘newly introduced’ or ‘revamped’ educational projects. Throughout my formal and higher education, I almost always landed on the ‘first time’ projects so the academic segments have been fully uprooted, reshuffled and shoved back to the unfitting hole in the ground, so trial and error were necessary to refine the procedures.
I am in the middle of this restructuring again. When I moved to Perth, the university decided to restructure the whole credit points system, so instead of 4 credit points per unit, it becomes 3 credit points per unit. Although the contact hours are shortened, they were less capable of restructuring the teaching contents. Instead of trimming the contents, they only condensed it. That is, of course, bad news, because the students will still be required to complete the same amount of tasks and readings but given much shorter time. I know this for sure because I dropped one unit last semester after 4 weeks, and am retaking the same unit this semester only to find out that I was doing triple times more readings for last semester! I sympathise with the students from the previous semester.
Tight Due Dates
Given the shorter contact hours, I wonder if it is still justifiable to have at least 2 assessments per units. For some units, like statistics, there are usually 2 tests, and 2 small assignments, and then exam! So, suddenly, I have crammed datelines for tests, homework, and assessments.
Stress level = through the roof!
I am dieting on Facebook, or perhaps a pre-quit phase, if you like. It was not a premeditated plan, it just happened. It is not so much about the time spent on Facebook, but the possibility of emotional engagement. For people like me, who does not go out and make friends, the virtual social world is as real as socializing in real life context.
Life Was Simpler and More Straightforward before Facebook
Having access to your friends’ current activities (via Facebook ticker*) can be an emotional trap for us – on both ends. There would be times that I didn’t want to engage with people in the messaging/chat, or to respond to any comment on my posts, but just browse through the feed and like/comment. The ticker would track my activities and made privy to my friends who might be waiting for me to respond in the chat. One tragic drama is waiting to explode. When I am in the reverse role, I may feel exactly the same way. So, there is a high chance for the person waiting for our response to feeling slighted, ignored, or worthless. There is also a chance that we feel pressurized to respond so that they don’t feel slighted, ignored, or useless. Simply, it’s just a trap!
*For those who don’t know what that is, perhaps your browser or OS is not showing that. It is a live activity tracker, so even if you have excluded certain people from viewing some contents on your Facebook homepage, they can still see your comments on other people’s posts/pages. There is no need to look through the privacy, this is one feature that you cannot opt to turn off.
Only a couple of people knows my emotional turmoils over these 2 years. Some people misinterpreted that I am still recovering from my last marriage; I let them because people will not see the value of a relationship the same way I experienced it, any effort to change their opinion is futile.
It is not to say that the broken marriage has not done damage, it is the very reason why I became more vulnerable and incapable of sustaining another blow emotionally. It is the fundamental reason why I conclude that I am unworthy of love. However, someone else took the last straw and affirmed that conclusion, and adds a new one – I don’t even deserve the slightest compassion.
There is Something Fundamentally Wrong with Me
It is not entirely my low self-esteem talking. It is more reasonable to infer from collated data (yes, I have been doing way too many stats and psych studies!) from experiences that there is something fundamentally wrong with me. There must be something that I don’t see, but the partners do. I am not one who indulges in self-denial just so that I could feel better about myself.
I don’t seek them out, they do. I don’t try to convince them that I was perfect, they convinced me they were perfect for me. I will always show all my cards on the table even at the first meeting. I thought honesty is the best policy. They asked me never to change, and I don’t, but they do; even those who swore they were incapable of lying, that was clearly the first lie.
Tuning Down Emotions
I am naturally dramatic. Just because I don’t express emotions the same way that you do (assuming that you are typically developing individual), doesn’t mean I don’t experience feelings. If anything, I am so many times emotional than typically developing individuals. Facebook is the perfect venue to incubate super emo-dramas. I am just dramatic as in weird and even inappropriate (clearly I must think it is appropriate!) dramatic expression (perhaps a coping with excitement in the hyperactive department), but I am not a fan of real-life emo-drama.
Facebook is where people come together in different costumes or moods. There is little control over what people may react, and their reactions may rub off badly on me on a bad day.
Turning Up Productivity and Rationality
With Facebook out of the way, I am turning up on productivity and rationality. I get emotionally affected quickly, even when I don’t show it. I am the type of person that you left in the desert and forgot about it, only to realise years later that I am still waiting at the exact same spot because you didn’t explicitly tell me that I don’t have to wait if you don’t return in 2 days. I am very loyal, more so emotionally. That makes me very vulnerable and easily exploitable.
If I had to deal with my bruised emotions every few days, which takes from days to years to heal, I would not be able to accomplish anything. Suddenly, I have more time!
I am following a stricter regimented study routine, which can sometimes get disrupted because of inefficient planning from the content delivering part from the University – seriously, every organization needs an Aspie as administrator to set up the effective SOP – Standard Operating Procedures. I think typically developing people are better assigned with tasks dealing with people relationship handling while the Aspies work on the necessary planning that will ensure quality delivery and improved productivity. Simply, typically developing people excel in emotional management (but really suck at work productivity logic), and Aspies excel in logical planning (but really suck at people skills).
I cannot that believe I am saying this, but I think statistics should be the easiest unit as compared to philosophy and psychology units.
Except for the qualitative inferential portion which has more flexibility, the quantitative computing part is really straightforward. There is no guesswork, you either get it right or wrong. There are little room and autonomy for markers to fault you if you get the answer right. Whereas for psych or philosophy unit, despite the marking rubric, the marker has absolute autonomy to mark you down for arguments that he/she may be too narrow-minded to agree or comprehend. People have a bias, stats don’t. It’s either right or wrong. An argument is subjective and is open to comprehension according to the individual’s personal values, beliefs and bias.
If I didn’t have dyscalculia, I believe I would like statistics. It’s very straightforward. I have never failed mathematics. I was selected to participate in inter-schools maths competition because I was among the 5 top students in maths for my study year, but numbers are not intuitive for me. I use my higher cognitive function to compensate for learning numbers. I attempt to translate numbers in a logical language, so I understand the concepts, just not the numeric sense. In a way, I am a more fortunate one because if I had lower cognitive function and processing speed, I might never be able to pass maths at all. I would be stuck at the part of not understanding numbers and unable to come up with an alternate solution to make up for the deficit.
I have gone dark on Facebook for perhaps 2 weeks now. I managed to submit every write-up for 2 units on time. I even made appointments with 2 experienced academics in the student learning centre to put our heads together to work out study techniques for dyscalculic. One of them is an academic specialised in maths. I did not ask for assessment extension (that I am entitled to), and completed the response paper for one of the units, and also finished the first-semester test. I am also ahead of time in completing my stats homework.
Contact Me Outside Facebook
It is possible that I may not return to Facebook for good, or at least not anytime soon. If you have seen my status as ‘active’, it’s because I play games that are connected to Facebook. I may login to my Facebook account this week, just to assign a new account to manage my Facebook Business Page.
I had always been active on Facebook, and I ‘vanished’, people get worried. My mother phoned me because despite my deliberate postings of instagram photos on my Facebook timeline, I have been inactive in other postings. A few other friends have contacted me outside Facebook through instagram, iMessage, twitter, google+, Line, or Whatsapp.
I am not returning to Facebook anytime soon. I will continue to post stuffs on there through external apps, but I am not actually on there. If you have been trying to contact me through Facebook message, don’t get pissed off yet, it’s not about you. I want to be clear about this because I think the one worst feature of Facebook is allowing people to cut some people off selectively, and it opens the door to the “mean girls syndrome”.
It’s one of the most baffling behaviours to me. I mean, the need to be mean to another being is utterly incomprehensible! Yet, it’s real. It is possibly one of the most traumatic events for any girl to have ‘suffered’ from mean girls. We all go to the same class in the same school, but for some reasons – valid or not is not relevant – these popular girls decide to selective ‘mute’ some girls (cooler girls out of animosity and envious; or nerdy girls because they don’t fit in). While everyone knows what’s going on, this group of muted girls would be clueless, feeling demeaned, belittled, and possibly worthless.
Facebook is allowing this. Admittedly, I use the grouping function to group friends, because some posts are more personal or strong-opinionated so I only allowed selected audiences to view them; other times, it’s for personal protection because personal details are in the post, and some Facebook friends are mere acquaintances for gaming or business. Facebook has the kind intention of allowing flexibility for individuals to adjust their level of privacy, but this is heavily exploited on.
Once upon a time, it was simpler. If we were not allowed to change the privacy, and to treat everyone as equal, perhaps we would be more selective in adding people to friends. It is most self-worth debilitating to be at the receiving end when your favorite person groups you as ‘excluded’ group.
Benefit of Doubt
The problem here is, why should I allow such speculation about an online platform to determine my relationship with anyone?
My mother used to send me a ton of ‘stickers’ or ’emojis’ through Line app, and I spent 30 mins trying to guess if she was mad at me, or was she scolding me, or whatever. It turned out that she couldn’t see the tiny sticker well, so she just hit and sent!
I am also not worried that half my friends may assume whatever they want to believe about my disappearance on Facebook and have unfriended me because I wasn’t responding. I really don’t care anymore. People will find ways to get in touch with me if they genuinely want to, I am in no obligation to stay on Facebook for anyone – ok, maybe for my mother, that’s why I am still posting photos on there. Facebook is just an alternate resource to reconnect or stay connected with friends, do not mistake it as the measurement tool for friendship.
Now that I have completed all my school tasks, I have the full week break to reacquaint myself with the statistics definition and do some crochet work.