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Sleep Deprivation and Self-Improvement Goals: Diary of a Quaran(teen)

Today was a weird day. I haven’t been sleeping: I think that’s the problem. I’ve been averaging 6 hours of sleep, which is no one’s optimal amount. I used to have one professor who could function on 4 hours of sleep, and I was convinced that she was superhuman (she certainly has superhuman intelligence!). The truth is, being around people made me happier. I used to see people every day, whether that meant going to the gym and smiling at the “regulars” or attending Jewish evening classes at UCLA. On my runs, you’d be hard-pressed to find me keeping to myself.

I wave at humans and dogs alike. “Hi! Good morning!” and, a few steps later: “How are you doing, today, sir?”

I need people. I can’t not see them. Phone conversations provide a temporary fix. I’m surprised. I used to think that just being productive was enough to make me fulfilled in life. Today, I did a digital interview, which I think went swimmingly. The whole time, I was smiling. I just couldn’t believe that I was facing two very nice people, even though they were testing my knowledge of neurofeedback and determining whether I was a good candidate for the job.


They asked me for references at the end, which I’m going to provide right now. Real talk: asking my references is nerve-wracking! In general, it’s hard to ask people for favors when you want to be so independent. I have 2 part-time jobs, but I want a job that is a little different, to balance while I’m getting my doctorate. The company also asked me for a writing sample. I won’t be providing this blog because it’s not as professional as I think they’re looking for. I’d prefer to send them my Psychology Today article.

I don’t want to get my hopes up, because getting hired at this time is notoriously difficult, but they seemed to like me. About an hour ago, I did a digital Jewish learning class. There’s this one girl who I’ve always wanted to be friends with, and she gave me the sweetest compliment! “I’ve never met Vera before,” someone said.

The girl introduced me. “Oh, Vera is one of the most amazing people you’ll meet,” she said. Me? I’m amazing? And my learning partner came to the session incredibly prepared. She sent me pictures of a book and subscribed me to a daily learning forum. I’m learning about self-improvement from my religion’s perspective. I think it’s fascinating. I am a person who believes in self-improvement (and not just the cheesy affirmation kind); I want to get better at not saying bad things about others. “You have a really good voice for reading,” my partner told me, which is the second time I got that compliment. I told her that I love reading, but it really made smile.

Lastly, Ansel Elgort blessed us all with the hottest picture I’ve ever seen in my life. I all but drooled at my phone screen. It’s ironic, because the class that I attended today was about being disciplined, both with speech and sensuality. I think that’s a beautiful message. If you’re able to be disciplined in these challenging areas of your life, then you can apply that discipline to other areas with ease. I like the idea of practicing discipline, even though less than a minute after writing this, I looked at the time and noticed that it was already 11:04 pm. Speaking of discipline, I should really be getting to bed. I promised myself that I’d try to go to bed at least by 10:30, so I’m not struggling to go to sleep for nearly as long. It’s weird that sleep-deprivation doesn’t worsen my writing, although maybe I’m not noticing!


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Hi everyone! I started my doctorate in clinical psychology in fall 2020. A google search revealed that there are no current grad school blogs for psychology students. Anyway, I happen to know a girl who wants to document her journey to getting a doctorate (spoiler: it's me). Welcome. Hope you stay awhile!

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