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Gone (Out of My Mind) Until Further Notice: A Comps Journal by Guest Contributor Rachel Wayne

Today brings us to the final of our four entrants, Rachel Wayne, who is in the sometimes-exhilarating and sometimes-agonizing throes of working toward her doctoral degree at Queen’s Department of Psychology in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Communication and Hearing Lab. Reflecting on a completed journal is an exercise in developing foresight; we can see how reliably the insurmountable winds up well and truly mounted. Process is a funny thing. As long as you start, you’ll get somewhere, but not knowing the path makes the journey seem interminable. It’s why a car trip feels faster on the way back, and commercials seem shorter when you’ve been made to watch them repeatedly in a conditioning process not dissimilar to the one used on Alex in A Clockwork Orange, and the pace of life, in general, seems to speed up over the years. Once we see the pattern, we can interpolate the details, even if we’d like to slow down and dwell in them again. So take an appreciative sip of the caffeinated beverage you’re most likely nursing, and enjoy this window into Rachel’s creative-intellectual process.

This Comps Journal documents both my inspired and my agonized witticisms derived in a time of intense mental activity.


                                      GONE (OUT OF MY MIND) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

March 30, 2013

I vacillate between moments of confidence and relative serenity punctuated by isolated moments of sheer panic. I live in the extremes.


March 31, 2013

Does productivity increase as a function of caffeine consumption? All I know is that I will equivocate caffeine consumption with productivity for the next month. Yay comps.

Made good progress on the common cause section today. Feeling confident about the final product, though still stressing over the timeline. It is difficult to predict the time-intensiveness of the paper. But it’s starting to take good shape. Sort of. I somehow feel it will all come together in the end. Much of the anxiety comes from not knowing how the argument itself will ultimately take shape; good writing ought to be a teleological process. (We can deconstruct writing into developing a coherent thought process or cogent argument, and also into the actual articulation of these thoughts; bad writing happens when we conflate the two).

I feel some relief from the fact that is not yet April.

There is beauty in struggle. I remember that.


April Fools.

New routine- Starbucks, gym, food, Starbucks, relaxation.

How many cups of coffee does it take to write this paper? I don’t know but Starbucks certainly does. There should be a portion of funding allocated to caffeine consumption for the purposes of writing.

I’m slowly climbing the gianormous mountain.  I learned that this is a recently added word to the English language. Probably a consequence of our hyperbolic culture.

I’m hungry again.

Made good progress on what might prove to be a tangential point in the paper. I think it’s still important nonetheless.  Ask me tomorrow


April 2, 2013

Not good today. I fell down the caffeine rabbit hole again and feel foggy. I’m debating having another one, because at least today will be productive, no matter how painful tomorrow will be. It’s like I need caffeine and all the strength of my adenosine receptors to perform at the upper limit of my intellectual potential. I’m at the bottom of my confidence interval today.

It’s 12.30 caffeine kicks in and I’m a responsibility champion again.  The world is beautiful and teeming with sunshine. It’s snowing in April and I freeze every time someone opens the back door at Starbucks. But at least I’ve got my table. It’s my third day living here


April 16, 2013

Just 2 weeks left now. I’ve returned from a mental-breakdown induced hiatus; I felt crappy and nothing fit. I took about a week off from the paper, but intermittently while I was restoring myself to sanity, I slowly chipped away at it. I’m caffeinated and I’m back. It all came together today. It’s unfinished, but at least I assembled the puzzle edges.


April 25, 2013

It’s the final countdown. The paper has shape and form; just requires a bit of slimming around the edges. I consider it an idle waste of my precious time and intellect to have spent five tedious hours inserting references. Or is it worse that progress has now been halted by this 240 student-high pile of final exams? I think I mark more kindly when I’m fed. Or maybe I’m too ashamed to admit that the Songza “100 worst songs ever” playlist is actually…uplifting.

By the way, the answer is 68 dollars and 12 cents. And still counting.


April 26, 2013 – The Final Entry

This submission is due before my paper, and so the paper remains unfinished. But I’ll get there eventually. In writing, Zeno’s paradox comes alive; there is always something to fix. But at some point, marginal gains for effort reach asymptote. I obsess over the final sentence, but perfectionism is a losing battle.

Good enough.

Read a little bit more about Rachel and her work at her CoNCH Lab profile page.

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