Looking Back

Here we go, it’s finally over. I’ve reached the end of the game. Whether or not I’ve crossed the finish line, the game’s over. The suspense may have been killing me, but I’m too exhausted to feel the suspense at this point.

Year 1 is over. I’ve finished a whole academic year at university, my first big change since high school began. It’s had its ups and downs and sheer ecstasy moments; I’ve loved the freedom that’s with being on my own in university, I’ve enjoyed being able to prove myself wrong— in good ways! I’ve loved what I’ve learnt this year, not just in that typical ‘personal growth’ way, but also academically: it’s nice to fall in love with an area you may be in for a long time to come!

I’ve also come to fall in love with the area we live in: downtown Toronto, the heart of the city. I’ve always been a city kid, but my “city” ended in the suburbs—I never fancied living in the rush of the sprawling upward expanses with square glass fingers desperately stretching higher skywards in a place where you’d enjoy it if you live for the thrill of the fast lane 24/7.

Not my kind of thing. But I’ve come to love it. It’s not entirely an about turn, though. Our campus is 1865 powering its way into 2019 and adamantly staying that way, and it’s beautiful. It’s neo-gothic style architecture drives students crazy (and me; sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s a tourist and who’s a student because even as recently as this month,  eight months in, my phone camera is still out. This was on the way to an exam location, no less. I guess imminent death makes everything look prettier! (Naw, it’s pretty as it is)

Now that I’m sitting home, it’s kind of this bittersweet wait. A long, anticipated wait.

I’m awaiting grades and major decisions. It’s been a chaotic last few weeks, and my finals weren’t even half the reason. Finals don’t stress me out, as you’ve clearly seen. All my best work (a twenty-six and counting comics included) comes during my highest periods of pressure. And I’m not even talking academic work. My creative output skyrockets under pressure. When people bring up the whole debate about the tortured artist, I hide my face and run away. It’s not something I can pretend doesn’t happen!

But it’s been a tiring year.

I am, or at least, at this point, I think I am, a computer science student. I can’t pretend I knew much better when I signed up for this, but apparently it’s a well sought-after major. Which means resources are limited, but the demand is pretty high. Which means stuff gets competitive. My school is one of those that selects majors once you’re already in college, so you have a bunch of people scrambling around for places in a pretty limited program, because everyone can take their shots. At the end of the year, based on how you’ve fared compared to the rest of your class, you’re either in, or you’re not.

And guess what, it’s the end of the year.

So it boils down to this. Numbers will be concrete now. The hypothesisations are out. Over. I could be out and over. The possibilities are literally limitless and are veritably driving me nuts.

I’ve been doing more math than computer science this last month, and there are so many loose ends. I don’t normally think of myself as someone with loopholes. It’s a challenging field out there, and while I can’t say the actual coursework has been stressing me out—no sir, I’ve loved it—the consequences of messing something up are killing me. Getting an assignment back is no longer about look! So much of this is right, I’ve learned—maybe even mastered—so much!, it’s about oh no, I’m below the class average this time! How much better am I going to have to do on the next assignment to make this up? Back to the calculator it is!

At this point, I genuinely don’t even remember why I liked computer science in the first place. There’s this hazy mist above my head that’s saying “I remember I used to like it, so I must’ve liked it. Can’t recall why though.” I’ve forgotten what I wanted to do after college, what area of computer science I wanted to specialise in. Goals have shrunk down to micro-goals. What do you want to do in life? I want to get into second year. I don’t remember what came beyond that. Was it research of some sort I’d wanted to do? Go into graphics or interaction or something? Jump on the AI bandwagon? (Look, I’m open, but that probably wasn’t it. I feel an internal need to run away from the mainstream, even if it may end up being something interesting. I wish I could change that, but my internal magnet repels way too strongly.)

The point is, I don’t remember, I’m just so exhausted and worn out, that me saying anything about this will have me sounding like a broken record (ask my poor roommate). I used to be kinda interesting, you know. I used to talk computer science stuff like I was really interested, and I’d leave the conversation having you hooked onto something you’d never imagined you’d find interesting or remotely imagine spending the day with (I can vouch for myself here because I’ve had a twenty minute conversation with a self-proclaimed luddite on binary storage. Better times! Talk to me about it if you’d like, I’ll see if I still have it left in me).

Well, here’s the thing, me not knowing is worse, because it means I’m going to have to do the painful discovery process thing again. If I need to get my ass out of this place and at a new place that’s not quite as much of a gladiator showdown, I’ll need to write another bunch of long and thought out essays on why a college should have me as a computer science major. Last year, I’d swore I wouldn’t do that again.

So here we go, it begins again.

The hunt, the search, the outputting. If you missed the shitshow last year, here’s a repeat telecast.

Man, I just want to be sure, for once. Just know that there’s something out there that I can come back to, and bank on. Maybe you’d call it a backup.

I really don’t want to have to go. I love the place, I love the people, I love what I do. I have friends (I am personally surprised by the number of people I’ve discovered in the last month that would vouch for me) and I was really settling in quicker than I ever have before.

Starting uni, I really just hit the ground running. Things weren’t out of place, culture shock didn’t really hit me, I was weirdly not homesick either (hurray for WhatsApp!) and I really just clicked. It was a beautiful feeling, almost like Toronto had been waiting for me since forever. Even if it wasn’t me in question, Toronto can make anyone feel home and familiar, I’ve noticed, but hey, this here is my theatre production, so back to me.
You can’t seriously be telling me at this point that I’m going to have to pack up and move. Not after I’ve worked that hard. Not after things have worked. Not after everything had been blue skies (actually no. Grey skies with a 40% chance of snow; this is Toronto, guys!) and wind in the sails and a 90 on cruise control. The blow those finals dealt me has me kind of stunned, because me numbers don’t predict graceful nosediving worth a perfect 10 in synchronised swimming.

Basically, I’m confused. I didn’t see that coming and I am not prepared for it. Denial may kick in soon, but I need to plan my bust before that happens.

Look, there’s nothing pretty about this piece of writing anymore, it has descended into a pure mad rant. This is Lady Macbeth checking in, deliriously washing the blood of her murdered grades off her hands and whispering, what have I done? Or more precisely, when have I done this?
Can someone tell me what is going on here.  

You don’t have to read this if you don’t want to, it’s a one-person tragedy now. There’s no more script, just rants. Just someone who doesn’t want to write FIVE more personal statements and who wants a tiny little bit of security in life.
Ironically enough, here’s a computer science major insecure. I heard an english major whining about it the other day and sympathised. Well guess which one of us knows they’re gonna be at this uni in four years time and actually graduate.
The irony kills me.
The competition just killed me. It’s almost not fair.
If you’d have told fifth grade me about this, you’d have gotten a smirk.
Trivial. All you’ve got to do is get from first year to second year!

I’ve added a fancy picture here because reading all that must be an eyesore and you deserve a break. Commendable that you got this far. I wouldn’t have. But thanks anyway. 
Source: not my work

Yeah, it’s totally that simple when you’re not in my major. Really. I have nothing remotely optimistic or witty or quirky to say. I can’t say I’ve learnt how to deal with anything better than I would have without this kind of failure. I’m a little bratty about not getting my way and this isn’t a humbling learning experience. I’ll probably remain a brat. All those easier colleges we collectively shit on because ‘we’re so hard’, I shall probably not feel sorry or take back all that, shall we call it, letting off steam? It’s not a learning curve, we genuinely are harder. I’ve compared course syllabi with other schools, and I like ours better. Call it a learning curse. I shall be sorry to not have access to the incredible stuff my uni’s computer science department has to offer if I leave. I just wish I could still have made it.

I just wish for once I could go to bed thinking I’m a tiny bit of a satisfactory success.

I’m Bad At Promises

First up, I gotta say I try.

But I’m also quite a heat of the moment sort of a person, especially when things happen after 11 PM. Which means, for all the stories I string about being up till 3, I’m there, but I’m really not.

My friend and I have a theory that after 11:30 PM, my alter ego takes over. And after some inspection, we’ve come to realise that my alter ego is in fact a monocle-wearing, Fedora-tipping, moustache-sporting, English journalist called James. 

Too bad half my best work seems to come after 12 AM. 

So I’d promised comics twice a week, and now I’ve put out more. Feast, dear readers! (Actually, I don’t really recommend eating while you’re reading comics. I’ve done that with my Spider-Man comics (with a hyphen, as the guy himself has said!). It doesn’t end well either for your food, or for the mag.)

Here’s one and here’s the second

To be fair, the last one isn’t really a comic, so you can cut me some slack. If you actually like the comics and would want to consider it one, then you’re rare, hurrah for more comics!

New Comic, Everyone!

No, I don’t think I need to do this either, but it’s 12:10 AM, and I’m feeling weirdly restless, and have a final that I’m currently taking a break from, and feel the need to justify in the form of some concrete output, and hence you, poor reader, may just have to bear the brunt of my anxiety and live through yet another post.

Well, I’m keeping my word about updating the comics regularly. And so here’s the next one, albeit on a much nicer looking blog. This blog remains a black background, and majorly just because I’m adamant about that. As a matter of fact, my obsession with dark backgrounds, as clearly influenced by the fact that I’m pretty much a computer science stereotype with the penchant for coding on dark backgrounds, has kind of spilled into my new blog as well. As of twenty-four hours ago, it was a clean, pristine, cold, spacious white. Now it’s dark blue, but a very comfortable dark blue indeed, or that’s my opinion anyway. The cool thing is that while the background is blue, the text and the comic are still on a white background, so I found a good loophole right there. Everybody wins!

Do let me know what you think of the new blog though! It’s kind of shiny and new right now, and I’m eager to see what I end up doing with it. Hope you are too!

There’s Change A-Comin’

Hi

I’ve picked possibly the absolute, singularly worst time of ever to decide to do this, but I’ve decided to do this, so I’ll say it here. 

I’ve been drawing a lot of comics of late. My current record stands at 7 in 24 hours. 

Of course, as you can probably guess, I have had a math exam recently. My inspiration to do everything that’s not math peaks around math exam time. 

To put that mathematically, we hit a local maximum on the inspiration function around the input time “math exam period”. 

Some of you have probably seen a few of my works as well in the past week, and in general the response seems pretty positive; I’m impressed someone’s reading my scribbles on a tissue paper, but hey, I have this ego of mine and I’m gonna assume you liked it. 

Just because. 

So I’m going to try and make a bit of a habit of this. 

I’m going to try and make the comics a biweekly thing, and while I love being able to use this ambiguous statement to hide under a rock uninspired and lazy for two weeks before coming out of my cave with a comic, I’ll clarify here that I mean the twice-a-week sort of biweekly. 

At least, I’ll try to mean that. 

Some weeks if I can, I’ll try to push out three. I haven’t decided on the days yet, but let’s work this through elimination. 

Peeking at my exam schedule, I have all my tests on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That counts out all days beginning with a T (and my lazy alter ego yells, “Tuesday, Thursday, today and tomorrow!” Shoulda done this yesterday.) 

So maybe Mondays and Thursdays. I don’t know, I have no idea how my schedule will look in two weeks time, or if I may sneak back here at 4 AM and try to silently delete this post and wonder, in all my exhaustion, what on Earth I was thinking when I wrote this up. 

But for now, I’ll try to keep it to this!

I have a new blog I had to make for my portfolios, and it actually is a little friendlier to centred images than my comfy black background baby blog here, so I’ll post them there, but will put out links to there on this blog because everyone’s even lazier than I am. 

So I will try my best, I will see you there this Thursday! (Glances nervously at watch and realises she has exactly three days to get her act together)

The (currently gaping wide as an empty galaxy) brand new baby blog can be found here: https://www.originofthepitchforks.wordpress.com and if you don’t like the name, fight me, I like it!

Life To Its Fullest

This one’s admittedly a little lo-fi, but you have to understand, I’m a computer scientist, not an artist! (Walks away clutching back)

Also yes, the title’s ironic. And the irony’s a cover up for my absolute lack of decisiveness when it comes to deciding what a good title could be. Do understand I’m pathetic at titles. We’ve gotten to a point where I’ll openly admit it. Readily admit it. Our lot isn’t meant to be too creative, our only goal in life is to sleep, please.

Thanks?

Doll

Keep that hair short
And your eyes up
Off your phone
In vigilant zone
Knees together;
Attention!
And your jacket zipped
And face, a calm ocean.
And devoid of all emotion
And do truly believe
For all intents and purposes
To be ordinary works fine
Works to slip in with the masses
So is this a military test?
A spy mission to disperse unrest
With the world at our behest?
Well, don’t raise an eyebrow
Don’t bat a lid;
That’s just our everyday
Subway trip.

Finals Approach

And I’m at my productive best, ain’t I?

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I mean approaching, formally. Like the absolute value of the difference between my math final and I, is getting really small and fast. And thank goodness for that absolute value, because this distance would’ve been negative without a doubt otherwise.

Also, mathematicians must hate physicists. And computer science first years too, probably.