Winds of Change: Days 63-64

This post is the entry for Friday and Saturday and contains mature subject matter towards the end.

Career

After doing some thinking about my career and my love for writing, I concluded that I need to clear up any, if not all, misconceptions I have about the science writing/journalism field. To do this I will have to contact well-known and/or establish science journalists to get the information I need. My reason for doing this comes from how I entered my Master’s programme.

When I spoke to my two promoters and was offered the position, I did not ask for time to think about it. My MSc project is not what I saw myself doing. I wanted to study antimicrobial peptides and their synthesis, but now I am doing something totally different, but still in the biochemistry field. I should’ve told them that I would have to think about it, consulted my advisors (who would’ve encouraged me to accept the project anyway) and pray about the matter before agreeing to do the project. I knew that the project required me to do some things I’m not good at. But, being the sucker for a challenge that I am, I accepted the challenge expecting to receive some support from my main promoter (or professor). That did not happen.

Instead of working with me personally, he gave me over to a PhD student to train me. And even though we met regularly, I did not feel as if he supported or “got” me the way I needed to be supported and understood. I felt like I was fending for myself. The PhD student trained me but didn’t tell me everything I needed to make stuff work properly. I was a proud person then who didn’t like asking for help; I would rather figure stuff out on my own. I was also dead set on appearing intelligent, if not being intelligent. I actually strove to be intelligent, and also to show people how clever I was for many years. So, working with the PhD student had me asking for information I should’ve been given in the first place. I felt stupid, simply put. And I had a negative attitude as a result. I entered into my MSc programme blindly.

Lessons Learned

In the process I’ve come to know myself better. I now know that I need to establish boundaries in a relationship in terms of what is expected of me and to share my expectations of the authority figure. I also know that I need to gain a realistic understanding of a field before venturing into it wholeheartedly. By this I mean that my expectations of the job or field of study must reflect reality. I need to know what are the challenges, joys, benefits, and kind of person it takes to be successful in the field.

I’ve also come to not care about my IQ score and other intelligence stuff. I’m not stupid and I’m not super-intelligent. I’m just Eleazar; your average bloke. Some people think that I am intelligent/clever; I just think that I know more about certain stuff than them. Why? Because those stuff interest me.

Intelligence

Where did this obsession with intelligence come from? During my formative and primary school years, I was one of the most intelligent children at school. Everyone sang my praises. (A Bible verse comes to mind.) But, during high school I didn’t even make the top 20. I don’t know why. I always strove to be in the top 20, but my passion did not correlate with my marks. I was a B-aggregate student. In undergrad I got a couple of distinctions but which lessend through the years. Until I did my honours, when I got an A for one of my modules. That module was a study subject. It taught me that I’m good with “story” subjects where I learn and regurgitate the information during a test.

I later learned that I’m good at solving problems too–other people’s problems. And the reason why I’m good at “story” subjects is because the information is basically complete. They satisfy my tendency to ask how? and why? questions. If the information is not complete, I am emotionally unsettled. Only after some time do I realise what unsettled me emotionally and then I try and find the info I need to get the big picture, the gestalt as the Germans say. In the past, I sought to ease the unrest with porn and masturbation, but I have since learned to make healthier choices.

Personality Tests, Strenghts and Weaknesses

I’ve learned that I love finding patterns in data and establishing connections between ideas and people. In terms of personality tests, I am an ISTJ (Myers-Briggs), a melancholy (four temperament theory), a connector-creator (Marcus Buckingham, StandOut) and have five signature-themes (Input, Learner, Deliberative, Responsible, Intellection; Marcus Buckingham & Donald Cliffton, Now, Discover Your Strengths).

For a long time I was depressed, unhappy and frustrated with my life and myself. My addictions to pornography, masturbation and exhibitionistic thoughts were major contributors. But the main reason was the belief that I am a melancholy and this is what melancholies do. They are morose people. I went for a Myers-Briggs personality test while in undergad and received the ISTJ label. It fit in nicely with the melancholy description. But, I was still unhappy. Then I came across Now, Discover Your Strengths, did the test and learned about my 5 significant strength themes which also fit in nicely with the morose melancholy temperament that I had. But, I was still happy. Those strength themes basically said that I love learning which I do; I love thinking about what I learned which is true; I am inquisitive which is what got me hooked on porn and masturbation; I am consciencious, responsible, and reliable; and I like discussions although I never ventured to share my opinions out of fear of being ridiculed for being different. This gave me something positive to work with. John Maxwell in his book Talent Is Never Enough introduced me to this test.

Then Marcus Buckingham brought out StandOut next. It’s approach is somewhat different to the previous book of his that I read. While Now, Discover Your Strengths was a self-reporting, straight-forward, “rarely-to-always”/”I strongly disagree to I strongly agree” kind of test, the StrengthsFinder test gives you work situations and 3 responses to choose from; you have 45 seconds to choose the most likely response you would give. This test tells you how other people see you and gives you advice or tools to develop those qualities.

It may seem as if I am basing my existence on these tests, but it’s not the case. They merely give me the vocabulary to describe myself. I knew way before I took the Marcus Buckingham tests that I love people, learning, taking responsibility, discussions, thinking, musing, daydreaming, and creating things. I didn’t need a test to tell me these things. The tests merely showed me that I can apply these qualities and dispositions to my job. They affirmed what I already knew and gave me some ground to “legally” stand on. They also showed me to a certain extent how I was misappropriating these gifts in my addictions and showed me how I can use these talents in my service to God. These tests only describe an aspect of me. The results are not me.

That said, I thank God for these tests that I did because they gave me hope–something good to believe about myself. I suffered from low self-esteem and self-worth which were exacerbated by my addictions and the lack of self-control in my life as well as the loneliness that resulted from these things . . .

Modus Operandus

Now to get back to the main point of this post, I will contact science journalists online and at my work to find out more info about the profession. I need at least two years experience in the field before I will be admitted to a Master’s programme. That gives me another year to gain experience and finish writing up my thesis for my biochemistry Master’s degree.

I have other writing career goals as well which includes freelance writing and having a religious book published.

I’m not one for thinking on my feet or making snap judgment calls which will most probably be the hardest part of science journalism. But, I can learn coping skills. I’m a muser. And that’s most probably why I appear to be stupid sometimes as I’m dumbfounded by the unexpected. However, from what I know, science journalism is not as fast-paced as “normal” journalism, but I still have to keep my finger on the pulse which I love doing anyway. So, I think I will be okay. That’s one of the points I need clarity on though.

Other Life Goals

Now, having a better understanding of my prospective career, I will be able to plan my future financially. I would like to buy a house, a car and travel to the US to visit some friends and to other places. But, I need a clear understanding of my prospective career in order to set “proper”, realistic goals.

As much as I would like to get married and have (four) children, I don’t need to get married. I’ve been getting by okay up to now, and will be getting by even better once porn and masturbation are no longer a part of my life. Plus a woman in my life will just complicate matters as I’ll have to navigate her mood swings cautiously, and most probably give up most of my dreams to please her. The companionship would be great, yes, but the complications of a relationship and the games women play make me think twice. (Sorry if it sounds chauvenistic. I love and enjoy simplicity.)

My attitude will most probably change once I’ve achieved my goals: established myself in my career, bought a house and a car, gotten my driver’s licence, and traveled around Europe and the USA. I would like to go on an African safari with my wife though and go to the Sheychelles or the Maldives for our honeymoon, but I have to work for all these things. And knowing what kind of renumeration I can expect as a science journalist in the different scenarios that exist is a good starting point.

To the Poets

To the poets among us, you can expect a message from me in the near future asking you about your writing process as you craft a poem. I love poetry but would like to also clear up any misconceptions I might have about it. I hope that you’ll help me in this regard. A (“)live(“) chat would be awesome.

I’ve been wanting to write a poem and have made a couple of false starts. But, after hearing some extraordinary poems on Wednesday, I’ve not been able to write a “good” poem. With the CONNECTION Daily Post prompt on Friday, I “heard” those poets “voices” perform sentences and phrases in relation with that theme, but was unable to pen them. I thought of all sorts of ways to represent connections even writing down symbols, meanings, means, purposes of connection, but to no end. How do I get passed this block, fellow poets? I’m sure that you must’ve experienced it at some point in your poetry career?

Withdrawal Symptoms

With regards to my porn addiction (and sexual function), I finished chapters 8 & 9 of Restoring Your Sexuality Back to Biblical Foundations. I will post chapter 8’s assignment soon. I had a wet dream this morning and yesterday morning (two wet dreams in total). I’m happy about that. I was severely tempted on Friday to look at porn though, but I continuously asked myself whether a porn filter would allow the Google (image) search if the filter wouldn’t, I didn’t search for it. I asked God to create an automatic porn filter in my mind since I couldn’t get one for my phone. I was against getting a porn filter but after speaking to Frank, my accountability partner, last Monday, I decided to get one–desperate times call for desperate measures. Today (Day 64) I had little trouble with porn urges.

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