Yes, it's that time again - the crest of the first wave of work for the semester. The professors have all decided that we've had enough time to settle into things and that now they can start laying the heavy assignments on us. Yet for some reason, I'm actually not having trouble motivating myself and keeping on top of things. Knock on wood, I guess, but here it is Friday night (okay, Saturday morning, technically) and I've already finished the two assignments that are due Monday (both of which I was just given today). I'm sort of wondering how long this studious attitude of mine will last. I'm not usually so - so - so diligent when it comes to schoolwork. The downside of always being one of the smartest kids was that (the last two years of IB excepted) I never had to put out the same amount of effort as everyone else, therefore I never really developed any good study habits. On the other hand, I do remember being in fifth grade and having a teacher whose system was to give us a homework timetable every Monday, listing everything we had to do for homework each day of that week. My method back then was always to dash it all off on Monday (usually during class), to get it out of the way so I could enjoy the rest of my week without worrying about schoolwork. Maybe that eleven-year-old 'bite the bullet' attitude is what's going on here. Whatever it is, I hope it sticks around longer than just the first few weeks.
The exercise regime has been going pretty well, too:
Swimming. Readjusting to the demands of pool swimming was hard for the first couple of days, but I'm surprised by how fast it's coming back this time. The first day or two, I was among the very slowest, and today (my 7th practice with this team) I was leading the lane. Of course, it's the slowest lane - this team is good, higher caliber than UF's club team, and there are a ton of swimmers, about 35-40 at every practice - but I don't really care where I fall in the 'pack' as far as time goes, as long as I see progress and feel good in the water. Which I do, so I'm happy with that. Tonight we all went out for dinner after practice - over 30 people crammed into a tiny pizza and pasta joint - and it was a lot of fun.
Running. The running is going well, too - I can do five miles twice a week without it feeling very difficult (except for that godforsaken loooong hill on campus). The only problem is chafing - I've pared down my clothing as much as possible, to a sports bra and shorts with no iPod armband, but I still get chafed (badly enough to where it scabs the next day) on my inner arms and thighs if I don't use that special powder-gel cream beforehand (which I forget half the time). Oh, well.
Lifting. I'm also lifting weights again, albeit only 2-3 times a week and very quickly - the girls who work behind the counter at Student Rec think I'm crazy because I drop in, work out for 15-20 minutes, and then leave again. ("How was the workout?" they always ask with a giggle.) Still, if the gym is empty, my routine really doesn't take that long - usually just 2 x 10 reps on the lat pulldown, tricep pulldown, and pec deck, plus bicep curls and lateral raises with the free weights. Sometimes I'll do a few leg exercises if I haven't gone running recently, but most of my strength is in my legs as it is, so most of the time I don't feel the need to work them very strenuously. I also used to do ab exercises in the gym at UF, but the bench here is incredibly uncomfortable and doesn't fit me well at all, no matter how I try to adjust it, so I've given up on that. Crunches on my bedroom carpet will be fine.
Cycling. I don't have my bike yet, so I haven't actually been cycling at all - which makes me worry about that 25-mile bike leg of the triathlon next month. It's been annoying, too, because there's been more than one occasion where I've been late for something and haven't been able to do anything about it but wait, because my only transportation option was/is the bus. (We thought UF parking was bad, but UNC takes it to a whole other level!) Anyway, I'll finally have the bike a week from today, because my aunt (who's in Florida right now) is bringing it home with her to South Carolina when she comes back, so I'll take a road trip down there next weekend to get it. And possibly to do some shopping in Charlotte for what to wear to my cousin (her son)'s wedding in December. (It's a well known fact that I cannot be trusted to do my own clothes shopping for important events, much to the disgust of my mother and fashion-conscious younger sister.)
She's also bringing my old cell phone (since the display has died on my current one - hurray for expensive Samsungs, now may I have my Nokia back?) as well as all the little random things I forgot to bring with me - a couple of books, my bike pump, a DVD Dad made me of Johnny Depp's recent interview on Letterman, an extra power adapter for my laptop, my scale, my webcam and microphone, my pencil cup, and... a pack of Dutch pancake mix which is STILL in the pantry at home and which I intend to (finally) use by making pancakes for my roommates.
Well, two of my roommates, anyway - the two who are grad students. We won't get into the details of our difficulties with the lone sophomore in the bunch, but suffice it to say that we suspect she's never really lived with other people before and thus has no clue as to the general courtesies apartment-mates should afford one another. (Like: take the trash out once in a while, don't scream obscenities into your cell phone every night at 3am, tell Liz right away when her belongings get broken, don't leave huge pots of food in the fridge for weeks, don't give your boyfriend your apartment key if you're not with him, and please buy your own goddamn dishes.) Anyway, we're going to have a meeting sometime in the near future and discuss "division of labor", as it were, and hopefully bring all these things tactfully to light, since it seems they're just not as instinctive for her as they are for the rest of us.
Oh, and about the English Channel? I finally - dare I say it? - have a full team. Linda, the woman from Scotland, is still on board, as is Tommy, the one UNCer to respond to my first email about the subject way back at the beginning of the summer. The other three swimmers, unbelievably, are all UNCers too - Justin, Dan, and Danielle. I'm still waiting on final confirmation from Danielle, but her mother has given the go-ahead (I've been emailing with her), so I'm hoping I'll hear an affirmative answer from Danielle any time now. Linda's mom and Justin's dad are also coming along as support crew members, meaning we now have all 8 beds full AND - assuming the team stays exactly as it is now - we have one girls' trailer and one boys' trailer, since we're evenly split down the middle as far as numbers go. Linda is paying (or has already paid?) our 200-pound accommodation deposit - the advantage of having a UKer on the team: easy, pounds-to-pounds, personal-check transactions instead of messy, dollars-to-pounds, expensive wire transfers! - and I'm in the process of collecting our shares to pay her back. Once I've got everyone's $48 (which is what it came out to), I'll finally be able to draw a breath free of anxiety, and feel a little more secure in the fact that I finally, finally, finally have a solid team.
So - this update ought to take everyone several weeks to read - does it make up for my lack of posting since I've gotten here? Hope so.