It’s a new day, It’s a new life, and I’m feeling …

Standard

Blank.

Usually that’s not how the song goes. I would know – Bubbles is by far one of my most beloved crooners. Something about his voice, it just melts me.

But I digress.

As my co-blogger/partner in crime/haven’t seen her in ages friend oh so helpfully pointed out, I haven’t made my presence felt on here. But the strange thing is, it’s not due to a lack of things to say, opinions to voice. I find myself feeling void these days. I have so much to do between the paper, Spanish, my degree, 2 jobs and now the radio that I don’t tend to get a moment to stand still and smell the roses. Not that there are any roses here but you understand my general meaning. The point is, I feel like I haven’t breathed in what feels like ages. Life seems to be passing me by – I’m doing all of these things, taking all of these opportunities but I’m so numb to it all that I may as well be doing it on auto-pilot.

There comes a time when you stop chasing the big things and learn to enjoy the little pockets or moments that life gives you (a bit heavy and potentially depressing but hear me out on this thought..) I had come to embrace the little moments, love them even but it now feels like I’m living underwater. There are two separate worlds in the sense that I’m both part of the world (I do everything, I talk to everyone, I smile, I laugh, I eat, I sleep) but at the same time, everything is like white noise. My mind is so overwrought that it’s stopped processing anything. The world feels silent.

And if there’s one thing I have never been good with, it’s the silence.

Can music be used as a tool for productivity and motivation through association?

Standard

Again, I really need to stop with these fancy titles, but I just can’t help myself.

So recently, I have been a little stressed (which explains the lack of blog posting – although I have no idea what excuse my co-blogger will have!). Having started the journey down postgraduate study, my life now consists of literature reading, trying to understand many difficult concepts all in on go and shadowing the resident PhD-ers to get some answers to the ever-growing list of questions.

Today was a particularly stressful day, albeit, the stress is completely self-inflicted. I like to work by deadlines. Deadlines are what push me to get stuff done and force me to manage my time better. Today happened to be the day before my self-imposed deadline where I had to have all of my chemistry reading and methodology done so that I have something to show in my supervisory meeting tomorrow. I came home from shadowing in the labs and was feeling downright unmotivated. I watched TV, cooked dinner and lounged about on the internet knowing full well that I had not done any of the chemistry reading I was supposed to. So what did I do? I turned on my Spotify web player and I started playing Alt-J’s new album ‘This is All Yours’. This album has recently become my go to album when I am doing work or trying to be productive. And would you believe it, a couple of hours later I am finished with all my reading and not once was there a lack of motivation, or a thought of procrastination crossed my mind. I was astounded. Just a few hours earlier, I was determined to be the most unproductive person ever, and now I have checked off all the things on my to-do list.

This brings me back to the title. I can’t quite explain why it is that when I am listening to the mellow tones of Alt-J that I suddenly focus on my work. Maybe it’s a Pavlovian response that when I hear those particular songs, I am more focused on work. Again, I am sure there is literature out there investigating this kind of effect, but I’m done reading papers for now.

Emily

Gaming: Analysis of personal risk assessment and decision making.

Standard

First of all, excuse the fancy title, I’m practising my scientific writing and it seems to have seeped it’s way through.

So here I am, on a slightly chilly Sunday evening playing Borderlands on my laptop. As you may have gathered from my little ‘About Us’ section, that I am a newbie at gaming. The games I have managed to play in the past have been games which involve time management (Sally’s Salon) and games which involve exploration of the environment with no real objective or mission (Terraria). Where as these games may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I enjoyed these very much. The time management element of a game showed me that I am good at prioritising and keep on track with all the tasks undertaken. The exploration element appeals to me because having learnt the basics of moving, I was immediately able to wander aimlessly and discover without any real threat (apart from some pesky slimes etc).

When choosing games, I am a sucker for fun and lively and I am definitely not the one for immersive games with horror elements. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a good horror film every now and then, I sometimes even enjoy it (depending on if there is actually a plot), but there’s something about immersive games or even first person games that scare me. Something about experiencing the environment first hand and the fact that any second now, something could jump out at you scares me more than just watching a horror film.

So this brings us back to the beginning. I am in my living room playing Borderlands. It just so happens that today was one of those days that I felt like playing a video game, so naturally, having just started playing Borderlands in the summer, I decided to put it on and have another stab at it. Upon getting into the game, I decided to spend some time recalling on how to get around and how to use my gun. Instead of going on a mission, I decided to wander the little safety zone I was in until it became night time, and of course, my brain then tells me, it’s too dangerous to go out of the safety zone at night and it was best to stay until the light comes back. I wandered around some more, looting as I went and happened to end up on the boundary between my safe zone and the dangerous zone beyond. Hovering on the edge, I could see two dots of red pop up on my map indicating the enemy. Whilst pondering whether or not I should actually just go and kill them, an enemy happened to appear, frantically running towards me. My finger rapidly clicked my mouse button and fired him down, and all that was left was me with a slightly faster heart rate. It was then that I decided to quit the game. That was enough for tonight. But then that got me thinking. By doing what I did, does that describe the kind of person I am? A person who sees difficulty in a situation and decides to not go for it? A person who uses any excuse in order to justify not completing or even starting a mission? A person who is so scared of the unknown that they decide it’d be better to leave then to deal with it? I don’t know, but it was definitely a thought-provoking moment and I’d thought I’d share it.

I am sure there is definitely some scientific literature that would provide some answers but my head is swarming with more relevant papers for my literature review and I just can’t face opening more tabs on my browser right now.

Emily