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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Review: Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of Success Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Apparently, all of Gladwell's books get me asking myself the following questions:

Did I enjoy this book? Very much!

Have I learned anything therefrom? A lot!

Will I be putting this newly-acquired knowledge to use anytime in my life? I don't know...

This book is supposed to "change the way we see success". It didn't change much in my perspective. I know that the "self-made person" is not a real thing. It's funny how some people deny others' influence and proclaim themselves as "self-dependent" when in actual fact no one is. I liked how the author stresses how the our environment, culture, and legacy impact who we are strongly.

This book is shelf-classified under "psychology", but it also discusses sociology, history, and even linguistics at times.

It's the kind of book that I like, but also the kind that makes me feel bad about myself. Is it too late for me to succeed?

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Too Much?

She always let people cross the line. It wasn't that she was afraid of people, she just didn't want any trouble--she meant harm to no one. However, people misinterpreted her kindness for weakness, and made special efforts to hurt her.

She knew that she needed to do something before someone takes it too far. She also knew that the problem was basically with her. She needed to act before it was too late.

One morning, however, during a very important meeting at work, one of her colleagues pulled the chair as she was about to sit on it, and she fell heavily on the ground amid laughter from those present. That's when she knew she'd hit her bottom.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Mortimer Case - Part 1

It's as if death only takes place in the dead of night.

Early in the morning of June 11, 2015, Mrs. Marsh marched noisily towards the door of apartment 27. Its occupant, Ms. Mortimer, had borrowed her frying pan the night before, and the old Marsh lady felt like having an omelette in the immediate future. When knocking the door several hundred times proved futile, she returned to her own place with an angry--and rather hungry--countenance.

It was a fine summer morning, and there was no reason likely to prevent Ms. Mortimer from going to work. That is to say, no reason except that she was dead.
Mrs. Marsh was a very stingy (and curious) lady. Therefore she found it unbearable to wait until her neighbour went to work before she could get her frying pan back. Again she went to the door and, this time, in addition to knocking, yelled the young lady's name.
As there came no response from within, she went straight to the landlady, which was her friend, and convinced her that the young tenant had left home without returning her "due utensil". The landlady, Mrs. Pock, decided to remain at the door while Marsh fetched the pan. Something didn't feel right.

The pan was left on the stove, unwashed; and the whole place was messy, as if it had been pillaged. What heightened Mrs. Marsh's suspicion was that there was no trace of the smell of the shampoo of which Ms. Mortimer usually reeked. She hasn't taken a shower yet, thought Mrs. Marsh. She is still here.

The first thought that occurred to her was that she needed to leave the place as soon as possible. But she didn't. Instead, she crept slowly towards the bedroom, with a very strange mixture of fear and excitement. The door was ajar. She pushed it open, walked into the room, and right in front of her lay Ms. Mortimer on the floor in a pool of red thick substance.

Later she recalled the cry she let out with amazement. She'd never thought her sixty-seven-year old voice box was capable of such a feat.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tests

I'm really disappointed in myself. I'm one of those students that are actually convinced that exams "don't really evaluate" students. In other words, I'm a bad student. Today, I sat an IELTS, and I reached this conclusion: I need to improve my English!

The speaking component of the exam was yesterday morning. While my performance wasn't exactly abysmal, I couldn't speak with fluency. In the writing component today, what I wrote wasn't exactly smooth. What's the use of this blog if I haven't learned how to write properly so far? (Actually, I didn't start this blog to improve my writing, but it's supposed to be a by-product of practicing.) What's the problem? Context!

One of the downsides of standardized tests is that they're... well, standardized. Let's take the example of the writing/composition test. We've all been through something like that--in school, more commonly. You're given the 'task' of writing about a particular topic in "no less than [insert number] words". That's just not fair.

Today, for instance, hundreds of people sat the IELTS. They were required to write an essay of 250 words or more about the efficacy of increasing fuel and vehicle prices as a solution to environmental problems. Of all those people, how many do you think were students/workers of some field related to ecology (or even economics)? Not many, I'd say. And those are the ones that have enough information to construct a convincing body of text with examples and everything to sound like they know what they're talking about. Of course they need good command of English to write well; but they also need to have an inkling of the topic at hand.

What's the solution? I don't know. I don't know if it's really a problem. Education has been improved and adjusted over the years and I like to think that humanity is moving forward; these have to be the best educational methods we could come up with so far. After all, who am I to criticize the work of all the educators and researchers who have put so much effort into causing so much pain and suffering to students worldwide?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Identity

I know that this is wrong--that I shouldn't do it. Sometimes, though, I find it difficult not to share a video. Especially one that gets me thinking. I also don't like watching TED videos as they only seem to emphasize to me that I'm a "loser".

OK, watch this, please.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Therapy

I've recently started my dental internship in Jordan University Hospital (JUH). OK, not recently; at the beginning of July. I know you didn't ask, but everything is all right. Although, sometimes, I think that I'm so lazy and unused to work that I'm finding it difficult to "keep up". I wish there weren't any stipend so that I wouldn't feel guilty about not working as hard as I should. Not to speak of my obvious incompetence, of course.

One of the things that I noticed in us as a people--and it's a very exasperating thing (excuse me for modifying an extreme adjective)--is that we tend to think of the solution as a bigger problem than our main problem. I'll try to explain.

When you have toothache, it means something is wrong with the tooth in question, right? Something wrong that was brought about most probably by negligence. We all make that kind of mistake. Now, annoyingly, many people look at the visit to the dentist as the problem rather that the "cure". Some put up with a lot of pain simply to avoid the momentary pain possibly experienced at the dentist's office. What's even worse is that some people think the most frightening experience is the injection of the local anesthetic, without which many dental procedures are a real torture. Many patients end up with hopeless teeth that should be removed, and get injected with the anesthetic all the same.

I used this example because it's directly related to what I "do" these days. I think it applies to most medical disciplines as well. In my community, for instance, it's not socially acceptable to go see a psychiatrist or a psychologist. In other words, live with the problem, which--in some cases, as in depression--might be unbearable, but never think of seeing a therapist. Seeing someone, they claim, is "for crazy people". Well, according to these twisted standards, staying insane/crazy is better than doing anything about it.

Some people just don't seem to understand that the sooner you get treatment, the milder it is, the less it costs, and, most importantly, the better it is for your general well-being. In plain terms, some of us are willing to sacrifice their health in the name of fear for their health.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mi hija

It was the day of my IELTS exam. She had a driver's test on the same day. None of it made sense.

She was picking up flowers. Those were some hideous flowers indeed. "I will sprinkle them on him, and say 'I love you, uncle, even though you failed me.'"

Very pessimistic, I thought.

I held her by the shoulders. "I believe in you," I said, firmly locking my eyes into hers, and totally neglecting the fact that four-year old girls can't get a driver's license.

"Really?" she asked.

I nodded.

She clutched my shirt tightly, but I didn't care, even though I would never allow it to someone else. And then she hugged me. No--I hugged her. It felt great. I felt alive!

Next, we hailed a taxi. Only after I'd told the cabby to take us to Jordan University Hospital did I remember that that's not where either of us was going.

I couldn't correct myself, though, as immediately after that I awoke.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Letter

Dear Grandpa,

I do not believe in the soul-watching-over-me thing; it's ridiculous. (I did make the mistake of thinking that you would take care of me while you were alive. God takes care of us all; no one else.) I once read in a book that it's good--even therapeutic--to write a letter to someone that you're angry with, even if that person was you, and you don't even have to give it to the recipient. I am angry at you, Grandpa!

I never really got it. Not only are you the smartest person in the whole family, but also the smartest person I have ever met in my entire life. You read a lot, you knew a lot, and you were good at languages. I still remember you speaking to us in gibberish when we were kids. I don't think that was a real language, but for some reason my siblings and I were led to believe that it was Hindi. One of the few French sentences you still remembered from your youth is "Comment allez-vous?" Well, je ne vais pas tres bien, Grand-pere! I still remember your magazines: National Geographic for as long as I can remember; and Time in your last few years/months on Earth. I also remember how you'd draw vertical lines on a sheet of paper to make a "table" in which you'd write all the new words you learned. I remember your "Al-Mawrid" dictionary. You really were one of a kind, Grandpa. You knew how to deal with anyone! Kids and oldies alike liked you. For some reason, though, you couldn't deal with your own family.

As a kid, when we lived at your house, I used to think of you as an evil man. Now I know that you never were. You were the one to yell at us, but that was because you were the only one to take care of us. I hated it when you'd wake us up at 6 a.m. to have breakfast. I hated breakfast! I hate hard-boiled eggs, OK? Well, I don't now, but I did back then, and I did for a few years after. But everyone else slept while you made us breakfast...

Remember when once I had to memorize half of Surat Ash-shams? You made me memorize all in one session. I recited after you with unceasing tears. Not everyone has your memory, Grandpa. Not everyone has your brain.

But what's the use of being a good person if you listen to bad people? Couldn't you ever tell your wife or son that they were being mean or taking what's not theirs? I am all against corporal punishment, but haven't you ever beaten your son? Not even when he badmouthed you and his own mother? What about when he'd beat us mercilessly? Where were you then?

Why did you listen to them--whoever they were--when they told you not to let me go to med. school? Why would anyone want to hurt me? I know now that you had more than enough money to support my studies, but someone--could be you!--didn't want that. You always said education is the most important thing, but still you (or at least someone) tried to deprive me of it. You had no idea how I felt back then. And I have very good reason to believe you didn't even care. Remember the one time I yelled at you? When I told you about my depression? You called me on the phone the following day to tell me off--to tell me not to threaten you ever again. I was crying! I never threatened you! Someone had apparently told you to say that to me. A few weeks afterwards, by the end of the month, it was time to give me my "allowance". You sent it to me with my brother. You were angry with me, but you still sent me the money. A few days later I came by to apologize, and you received me ever so nicely. Remember? You told me that with my backpack on (I was going to university afterwards or something) I looked like a foreigner. I never understood you well. Sometimes I feel you never wanted me to understand you. You never explained anything to me, and that's what angers me the most.

At times, I wonder if I have any right to be angry with you at all--whether I ever had any right to ask anything of you. But now I understand. It's all my father's responsibility; and he's always ditched it. I blame you for that sometimes. You should have done something.

Right after your death, he started making excuses for evading any responsibility towards us. Shortly he'd start making up petty quarrels to terminate any contact with us whatsoever (good riddance!), and now we haven't heard from him in over fourteen months. Everyone that hears that says that I should talk to him and apologize. Well, he's the one that should be apologizing, and you know it. Oh, and by the way, the last time we heard from him he said horrible things about you. He says you left all of these problems and responsibilities for him to deal with; that it's all your fault. It's funny how people perceive things the other way around sometimes.

I really don't know how I feel about you, Grandpa. I saw you in a dream of mine a few months ago, and you looked so sad and tired. You sat on the floor of Teta's balcony (not your wife), and you kissed me like you always did when you greeted me--back when you were alive.

I don't wanna cry, Jiddo. I should stop now.

Relatively yours,
Your son, Abdullah

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Social Cycle

Today marks the beginning of my dental internship year. This, of course, is a new "era". It is hopefully the beginning of a (more) productive life. I showed up about three hours late; so you know how excited I am. Actually, I am excited at the prospect of being introduced into a new environment--at the idea of a fresh start.

I've changed school so many times that I've developed some sort of pattern. In the first few days, I observe my fellow students, memorize their names, and learn a bit about them. Over the course of (usually) a year, I make friends with almost everyone. Although this happened many times, it hasn't taken place for five years, my undergrad years.

I couldn't have made friends with everyone in class (upwards of three hundred students), but I am kind of attached to them. Cheesy as it may sound, I feel "at home" at school. And when I am around people I'm not familiar with (say, people from other groups)? I reach out to them and befriend them!

I didn't really get that new-school feeling today. Everything was vaguely familiar: the places, the people and their characters. Maybe because all dental offices feel and smell the same. The same applies to people...

This must be one of the worst posts on this blog, but I'm tired. Bye.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A rare instance of self-flattery

I have self-worth issues. Those who know me well know that very well. Funnily, some interpret it as humility. Not so. I think we all--even arrogant people--agree that being humble is a great attribute, but it's not a very easy one to adopt. Again, I am not humble.

I always think of myself as intellectually superior to most people. Now, if you feel offended, it means that you think you're stupid. You really shouldn't. I believe intelligence is what you make it out to be. We all have brains (don't we?) and, therefore, we all have an equal opportunity. I am not really arrogant, but I sometimes "catch" myself thinking that someone (or a whole group of someones) is stupid. Stupidity is a trait acquired by choice.
 
So, I don't believe that intelligence can be quantified. IQ tests make no sense to me whatsoever. I might take a test today and score upward of 130, and score much lower on the same test one year from now. Trust me, I've tried. Besides, these tests make me feel like a lab rat. I hate labs and I hate rats.

Now, as I said, I am smarter than most, but that doesn't mean that most can't be smarter. What I am good at (which is not really a good thing) is that I can, in a sense, control my intelligence. (Can't we all?) Let me explain. When dealing with the "general public", I use language and thinking processes that make sense to those people. It has to be a perfect match. Otherwise, I'm perceived as either arrogant or stupid--I've been called both on different occasions. The smarter the person I'm conversing with is, the smarter I sound and think. When I find someone whose intelligence is close or similar to mine, that's when I feel comfortable: I talk in whichever way I want, I use my own lexis and accent, and I get a sense of connecting--something I strive for.

Sometimes I feel like I have personalities that are as numerous as the types of people I deal with. This is not OK, but it's how I protect myself form people. I know it might not make sense.

Adopting people's attitudes doesn't get me closer to them since it entails hiding the real me where they can't get.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Who do I think I am?

I had a little adventure yesterday. OK, not so much an adventure as it is a desperate try to get as many things done in as short a period as possible. First, I went to Jordan University of Science and Technology to get my hands on my certificate (yay!). That virtually being my last ever visit to JUST, I began to see things differently. I even took pictures! Here, I'll show you some. (I'm a terrible photographer.)
This is the first one I took. It's (a portion of) the library.

This is supposed to be an abandoned tram track.
 
After JUST, I had to go to the Justice Palace in Amman. Apparently, I have to get some "clearance" paper to testify that I'm not a criminal. Well, they could've just asked me!


On my way to the Justice Palace, I encountered this next to the parliament building. It's a part of a verse from the Qur'an that might be translated into "... and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves..."


When I got to the named palace, I was frisked after passing through the metal detector. Funnily, I had to put my backpack through some X-ray machine, and I saw that the mess inside looks even messier. I regretted not having taken a photo right after I walked away.

The dome of the Justice Palace from the inside.
 I think the "official" name for the place is the "Palace of Justice", but I write whatever I want in my blog. I got the thing done within an hour, and rushed home. My next stop was the Jordanian Dental Association to apply for a "membership". Alack, when I arrived, at about 13:48, they had closed. I have to go there tomorrow morning instead.

I'm sure everyone thought me a tourist; I had my backpack on, and I kept taking photos. Now, I've never "photo-blogged" before, and it feels stupid. Like those kids that feel an inexplicable need to "share" everything they do with complete strangers.
I am truly sorry.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Language

I've noticed recently that I'm an idiot. Why am I much better at English than I am at my own language? This, of course, is not to say that I've mastered English; just that I'm better at it than I should be right now. But I just can't resist language.

Ever since I was born, I had an immense interest in language. In that time, the only languages "available" to me were Arabic and English. My mom, an English major, helped me a lot by answering my questions, mainly those of lexis. I remember even making up words "in Arabic" and  asking her what they meant!

For a significant period of time in my childhood, I would be the only person at home, in a sense: my father would be at work, my sister at school, my mother still asleep. I used to watch TV, even at that age; and I liked watching cartoons in English, even though I couldn't understand what was being said. I sometimes watched Sesame Street in Hebrew. I can still count to ten, which is all the Hebrew I learned back then, regretfully.

Having learned to read (at least in Arabic) a while before actually going to school, and having access to printed material (books, sorry!), I had the opportunity of improving myself quite rapidly. (At least for a few years; my childhood was a bit turbulent.) I didn't go to "KG 1", which is a good thing, really. As a child who heard about school from his sister, I couldn't wait to jump on the bandwagon. She taught me "the letters" at that time, and I was really enthusiastic about it.When I finally went to school, my teachers were surprised that I could read at all. I think our educational system doesn't expect much of the students, which is funny, because that was a private school that we went to, and those are supposed to be the "good ones". I remember my first day at school. I was alone/parentless. I was the first student to arrive in my class. My teacher was sitting at her table, and was surprised to know that I'd read my name on the list at the classroom's door. Oh, how I don't miss school!

Anyway, I've retained an interest in languages throughout my life. Once, in the ninth grade, I bought a book whose title read something like "Learn Spanish in five days without a teacher". What I learned from that book is that you shouldn't buy books like that. Ever! In my first few years in university, however, I was leading a more or less pointless life, and had to fill the void. The internet was a new addition to our household back then, and I tried to make use of it as much as possible. I was introduced to the Michel Thomas Method of learning languages, and was very happy to find something--trivial as it might be--to do with my life. I learned French and Spanish, which was an enjoyable experience. I think, maybe, that was one of the things that reshaped the way I think. That period was when I also started taking Japanese classes, which is sugoi!

All of this is OK, I guess. the only problem is that I seem to have neglected my own language, Arabic! I love my language and I know that it's quite vast and rich, and so I need to go back and catch up with it. What better way than reading and writing, huh? Yesterday, I thought that maybe I should start blogging in Arabic. I need to do that! So I started today.

I just created a new blog, zeitozaatar.blogspot.com. You might be interested in it if you're an Arab. Especially if you're interested in making fun of my lack of mastery of my own language.
OK, sorry; no one is interested in me...

Monday, June 1, 2015

Je suis stupide!

I know it's a bit "too late" to write about this topic, but please understand that first, I was kind of busy when the whole Charlie Hebdo attack thingy took place, and, secondly, I don't have permanent access to a computer these days, and it's much more difficult to post here from my cellphone.

Funnily, what concerns me isn't the caricatures themselves; it is the reaction of the Muslim world that is strange. The way I understand it, a group of "artists" makes fun of prophet Muhammad peace be upon him--a group that apparently once published "anti-Semitic" caricatures but had to back off due to Jews' reactions--in a disgustingly inappropriate way, in the name of freedom of speech, and consequently get massacred for it. I'll take that bit by bit.

I said just now that I will not get into detail as to the "justness" of the punishment these caricaturists received. (OK, now I said it.) But did they commit a crime? Yes! How does mocking a living person, regardless of whose status, incur legal action/punishment, by means of a slander/libel suit, while mocking a prophet (Muhammad or Jesus, peace be upon them) is more or less all right? Is there really a just legal system in modern-day World? Why on earth has no one on earth taken steps to stop them?

Now, is freedom of expression a good thing? Absolutely! Our prophet found difficulties spreading Islam because of the closed-mindedness of his people. In those times, just like today's Arab World, freedom of speech was not a thing. So, any Muslim that claims to call for freedom of expression has to first demand it for himself/herself, and, if that's too selfish, for fellow Muslims, before calling for the rights of other peoples. It was nauseous how Arab "leaders" marched in the streets of Paris, all in support of freedom of speech, when it's unthinkable in their own countries. Sorry, in our countries! Arabs that admired the "tolerance" of their leaders need some serious help. Even if it were OK to hypocritically walk in that demonstration for political/diplomatic reasons, it is an abomination to be in a place where dirty drawings of our prophet are held high--literally and figuratively. Freedom of speech is not synonymous with obscenity.

As concerns massacres, how many people are killed every single day in the Arab World today? Doesn't anybody--peoples and leaders--care?

Although an average Arab doesn't really run the risk of being shot dead at his workplace for self-expression, he/she faces the possibility of imprisonment or any other punishment that a military court sees fit--The Jordanian State Security Court, for instance. I don't know if we're even allowed to announce that we're not allowed our freedom of speech.

Finally, here's a definition from Merriam-Webster's dictionary:
Semite (n.): a member of a group of people originally of southwestern Asia that includes Jews and Arabs.
So, if I were to generalize, I'd say "Semite" means "Arab". Jews are a minority in this category.

What a hypocritical world we live in...

Friday, May 29, 2015

Monsieur Perdu

It is really shocking. About an hour ago--and I don't know why the timing matters--I finished a conversation with my mom. A very strange conversation. One about the future. The future, funnily, started last week.

On May 20, a Wednesday nine days ago, I had the last two exams of my bachelor's degree "campaign". This took me seven years--at least two years more than average. My "plan" is to pursue higher education. To become a teacher is my ultimate goal. I always say that in order to change society, one must be in an influential position. And what's a better place than that of a teacher?
In order to fulfill any such aspirations, I need to further my studies in another country. Firstly, because education in Jordan ain't so good; and, secondly, because it seems that one can't get a scholarship "in here".

What I couldn't believe, though, is that my mom is absolutely averse to my leaving "home". And I placed quotation marks around that word because Jordan never really felt like one. She said it is a good idea to go somewhere else, gather the knowledge you need, and then get back to your place of origin. Many a time had I expressed to her my extreme annoyance at what life is like here: that not only are we deprived of many of our basic rights; but also that we, as a family, are kind of stigmatized. To my surprise, she was offended. She felt betrayed!

I made my mom sad! I feel I'm an evil person. But I am really lost. I do want to take care of her; she's the most important person in my life. But how can I do that in such a place? I almost never think about money in this context, but how can I take care of her under these unjust circumstances? I said that this society has always rejected us, that I've always felt inferior, but I couldn't get her to know how I feel. Oh, well! How can I get anyone to know how I feel?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Short Rant: Self-loathing

This doesn't make sense at all!

I feel bad about myself because I believe in my inferiority, and this feeling in itself only serves to make me perform inferiorly. It works on all levels. In school, for instance, I lack the confidence to ask people to "let me fix their teeth" because I don't feel qualified to do so, but the only way to gain experience and become a qualified practitioner is to do some actual work. I read when I feel ignorant, but acquiring knowledge and applying that knowledge are two different things.

What should I do with myself? How do I learn to like myself?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Let's learn stuff for free!

I've recently discovered a website wherein you can learn a wide variety of topics from prominent universities--e.g. Harvard, MIT, etc.--for free. If you've never seen edX* before, now is the time to do it. Unless you've got better, more important things to do.

In the holiday this January, I was glad to "attend" a Harvard Law class about contracts. It was in no way a "professional" course, but very much informative and enjoyable. I am highly interested in the computer science-related courses that are offered in the site.

OK. No more jabber. Go check it out. Please. Thank you.






*There are other similar websites; but this one strikes me as the best of them.

Distraction

This is a very critical time in my (academic) life. I have less than two months to study the whole caboodle of dental disciplines. I am in no way prepared; except psychologically. Well, maybe.

I am very eager to finish my education and move on with life. I really want to become a productive member of society; and at the same time, having never worked before in my entire life, I'm terrified of the prospect. Not to mention that I am still not sure what I'm going to do later on. I can't answer the very cliché question of "where do you see yourself in ten years?" with certainty.

At times like this, your mind seems to try hard to escape reality. My interest in everything is heightened now. The mere existence of the internet--with all the games, movies, shows, and even educational content--is a hurdle to everyone trying to get something done with their life. I am cutting down on the internet--after all, I was a bit of an addict a while back--but I need to control myself even more.

Writing this very post is an indication that I'm not using my time efficiently!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The upside of feeling down

They say sadness improves your memory. I've read that somewhere, anyway. And I believe it! The two void years when I was an engineering student weren't exactly years of vacuity. That's the time I took up reading (a good habit); I started learning languages, improving the ones I'd already known, or thought I'd known; and I started observing people, the most important person of which/whom is myself. Put simply, it was the period of time that shaped me into this...

During that time, however, I couldn't see clearly. I'd lost hope entirely. I thought losing all of my previous, rather childish, interests was a function of losing interest in life. It was partly true, though. But only partly.

The part I "liked" the most about my depression is what I call "parental-blackmail immunity". You know how when your mother wants you to do something and, in return, promises to make you something you like, for instance? That doesn't work when you don't like anything! I say "parental-blackmail" but it includes all kinds of reward/punishment systems. You are suddenly a grown up, a thoughtful person. It's when you realize how really weak we human beings are.

A bit about me

A few years ago, I was depressed. Like, really hopeless. (I know, bad topic; I hate talking about it, too.) It all started when I finished high school (Tawjihi is the Jordanian name for the last year in (high) school). I was really excited to have finished my schooling. I had high hopes of going to med. school. My grandfather, my financer at the time, had promised me that. I even started watching House M.D. in preparation. I'd savor the thought of becoming a good student at university, a prominent one. A smart one...

As it quickly transpired, however, my grandfather was no longer willing to make good on his promise to me. He said my father told him not to support my (expensive) studies. At that point, everything changed. At that time, "changed" for me meant "collapsed". I enrolled in a nuclear engineering program that I refused from the very beginning but never detested. From the start, I decided that I would not go on with that thing no matter what. I couldn't study well, of course, and consequently "scored" badly. Towards the end of the second year, I kind of dropped out of school.

I actually stopped going to school because I couldn't take it anymore. I'd already tried changing my major every single semester, but to no avail. This time, I'd had it: either I'd change it or leave. The months between my surcease of attendance and my actual conversion were among the worst in my entire life. I did absolutely nothing! I thought about nothing, really. Nothing but this particular subject. Needless to say, a lot of weeping was involved in that period of my life.

I considered pharmacy. I considered forensic science. I considered linguistics. Anyway, when the time came for applying, I actually filled in a form and submitted it to convert into pharmacy, but--thank God--for some reason I asked the registrar (a very nice person!) about medicine, and, for another reason, mentioned dentistry. "You can't apply for medicine," he replied, "but you'll be accepted in dental school." I dismissed the first application and filled in another with celerity. It might appear a quite thoughtless decision at first, but I never regretted it.

A few weeks later, I was accepted as a dental student. That did serve to end my "misery" at first--I scored really well in the first year--but my depression came back and bad thereafter. During my second year, I started to think about how my entire life would be delayed because of the two years I'd lost. Whether this was the reason for my low grades in that year, or it was the other way around, I know not. Almost no one supported me at that time, and I don't blame them, for I was quite repellent. Depression is a very nasty thing to deal with. Especially by yourself.

I can say that I'm OK now. Alhamdulillah!

Vacations are bad!

I have been "off duty" for a whole week now, and I haven't done anything worth mentioning. My vacation started on December 25, last Thursday, and, along with it, my state of boredom. I usually try to be very positive and optimistic, and it seems that studying actually helps. It keeps my mind distracted, for starters.

The thought that I can't seem to rid my mind of these days is that I'm growing old (nearly 25 years; OK, not really old!), and I still haven't achieved anything in/with my life. I still refuse to give in to depression; I don't feel hopeless or even pessimistic, I'm just grumpy! In other words, I feel like an old man. Although I'm usually an undemonstrative person, I sometimes feel desperate for support, which makes me feel like really bad! You can't ask for the love you always reject. I am obviously emotionally sick, somehow.

What's really strange is that I almost never feel bored. NEVER! There are tons of things to do/read/learn/eat! I'm just not in the mood for any.

I'm truly sorry for spreading my negativity!