Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Eidetic memory

I wish I had an eidetic memory. Between quals and proposal brainstorming I have been reading so may different things that they are starting to meld together. An eidetic memory, commonly referred to as photographic, would make all of this so much easier. I could read the book and remember it! Instantly pull up all the figures in my mind, remember that it was Cheong that did the wounding study and Amado developed the ABA inhibitor, and keep all the details about protein biosynthesis and processing from fleeing my head. Not only would it help on the science side of life but I would be able to look at various recipes around the web and remember what they were and how to make them, read suggestions about how to help my son with his anger and not have to write them down and then search for the paper (which oddly enough does not work when the moment is occurring, there is not enough time to find the paper!).

I used to be much better at learning things. The last time I was a student I could read things once, write them down once, and glance through the notes a few times and have it down perfect. But as it stands right now it takes a lot of work for me to learn things. I have to read the chapter several times, take notes, read my notes copiously and even then it does not always stick. I have laid out my plan for studying for quals. Two weeks in and I am already unable to remember what I read the week before. I re-read the notes that I took and I have to go look up more information because what I thought was enough detail ended up leaving me with more questions. It is daunting to say the least, quals are coming (ready or not) and I cannot seem to enter even the smallest new detail from short term study memory to long term knowledge. Perhaps in my "old" student age I need a new study method but I am unsure how else to go about this journey. Anyone have any suggestions?

Of course, on the flip side, I see King Boo struggle with his inability to forget things. I have to be very careful what I say because if he thinks I am promising or saying we will do something it becomes law. With the caveat that this only works if I am saying something he wants or is interested in, if I am saying something that he does not want he will instantly and promptly forget. For example, he asks if he can have ice cream and I say maybe later then every so often he will ask and then if we make it all the way to bed time and I did not give him any ice cream he breaks down into tears because I promised and he did not get his ice cream today. But yet if I say, go brush your teeth and get ready for bed, he will vanish into his bedroom and when I go ask him what are you supposed to be doing I receive, "I don't know" for the answer. Now some might say he is just saying that but if you could see the dazed look in his eyes, you would realize the child really does not know! He instantly forgot because it was not something worthy of his attention.

Now beyond the obvious annoyance that something I, his mother, tells him is not instantly categorized as attention worthy to him, I do envy his brains ability to classify things are relevant and non-relevant. I see a movie three times and I'm able to quote most of it. I read a scientific article two or three times and I can usually tell you what they saw but I'm still struggling to remember methods or how it fits with the broader literature.

I feel like I cannot keep my head above water right now and it is starting to reach the point where I feel so overwhelmed by my inability to make progress that I cannot motivate myself to actually work. This is about to get very bad, very quickly. I have to keep pushing now to get over this hump. To add insult to my injury, King Boo has been asking me to quit my job and let us move back with grandma and grandpa. He wants to go back to the blue house to live and not live in the apartment, he wants a big yard he can run in with grass. He misses living with other adults. I am hoping this is just a transition phase since we were just back there for break, before break he was saying how the apartment felt like home. Hopefully we can get back to that point.

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