5 May 2012; AT5 = 168 hours; total time = 1091 hours
AT5 has proven tougher than I initially thought. When I wrote the march 2012 entry, I had only just started AT5; as I noted, it didn’t seem like that big of a leap from AT3. But as I put in more hours I felt like it was actually getting harder to understand what was going on in class. About three weeks and 76 hours of class time into AT3, I took a 3 week break from AUA. Since starting the program, I’ve been taking a break of usually about 2 weeks roughly every two and a half months. It’s always been the case that in the period of time leading up to the break from school, I start to feel burnt out and my comprehension suffers somewhat. Usually the time away from AUA (and Bangkok) has a restorative effect and I return to school reenergized and class feels slightly easier than before I went away.
But not this time. In fact, when I returned after three weeks away I felt like it was even harder to understand what was going on in class – longer or more frequent periods of time when I didn’t know what was going on, and a much fuzzier comprehension of the details of what I was hearing. The first week back was the worst, the second week was perhaps slightly better. However with the third week (completed yesterday) I feel like my comprehension has gone up significantly – I no longer feel quite so lost in class (though I am certainly a long way from understanding everything).
I have no idea why this happened. Certainly I have had ups and downs all along; in particular, there was a long stretch of time in AT3 when I would periodically think my comprehension had improved, only to subsequently feel that it was declining again. At all levels of the program, some days can feel easier than others, and on any given day some classes feel easier than others. When I returned to AT5 after my three week break, the topics of the classes had changed; could the new topics have been harder than the old? It’s really difficult to say. However, although I found my seemingly decreased comprehension frustrating, I did not feel discouraged nor did I worry about what I was going through. I just assumed that things would work out eventually. And at least as of now, things seem to have gotten better again.