MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, Please Help this Perfectionist Survive College!!

Kurk

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I'm only two days into my first freshman semester and am already freaking out by the workload. I'm very doubtful about my abilities to succeed in college due to the sheer amount of content I'm expected to master.

Well now I think I'm starting to understand the fountain, hose, fire-truck driving away analogy.

What concerns me is that I went to a highly-respected college prep-school for high-school.

I'm very much a perfectionist and while it helped in someways during high-school, I no longer believe I can get away with thoroughly reading and re-reading and re-working my coursework in college without losing an unhealthy amount of sleep.

My course-load this semester is only 15 credits so if I can't handle this I'm definitely going fail later with ochem, calc, etc.

Bio I and lab
Chem I and lab
Intro to Pysch
a writing/english class

Believe me I've removed myself from all distractions; from 7-6:30 I'm in the library whenever I'm not in class or eating. I commute a total of 2 hours each day which really shouldn't drag me down too much considering many people work part-time jobs. The hours I listed is the only real time I have because it takes an hour to get home and I'm only left with enough time to prepare for the next day and get to bed on time for my 8 hours of sleep. Obviously I'm willing to compensate on sleep for short-term events like test days, but I shouldn't need to on an average day.

I just feel as if I don't have enough time in the day to read and take notes on my assigned chapters for all my classes plus write 2 lab reports each week and all the daily quizzes + tests + papers.

I don't know what to do and really need to maintain preferably a 3.7 gpa if not at least a 3.5 in order to get into dental school. At this point I'm questioning if I was even meant for college. I need a good GPA. I promised myself I would drop out if I got anything less than a 3.0

And that's not even including the volunteering, shadowing, etc that I need to find time for!

I'm thinking that the solution lies in my approach to things as a perfectionist because I know I'm not stupid.


Please help SDN otherwise this plane is going to spiral down in an uncontrolled descent into a fiery crash before it even reaches cruising altitude.

What was your study habits? How did you handle it? Please, I'll do anything. I'm not even taking a heavy load by upperclassman standards. I know how to utilize the profs hours and all that but the problem isn't the difficulty of the content but rather the sheer overwhelming nature of it.
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Fets

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I would suggest relaxing a bit and checking out a house party on campus this weekend.

Anyway, you'll come to learn that college is a giant exercise in memorizing as much material as you can in as little time as possible. You'll get pretty good at it. It might take a semester or two - I finished my first semester with a sub 3.0 GPA and I guess I made it. So you can too. All of the papers and lab reports just rehash what professors and TAs tell you if you pay close attention. Make sure you talk to them too. Creative papers and projects were actually a breathe of fresh air sometimes.

Repetition is the key to learning. Flash cards, writing down key learning objectives over and over on a whiteboard, and drawing out reactions or pathways many times is the best way to do it. Do as many practice problems as you can get your hands on. Don't waste time reading every word and making your notes look perfect. Concentrate on the key points from lecture and then move on to smaller points. Don't even go to lecture if the PowerPoint or outline is online. And don't forget to have fun, it's college after all.
 
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artist2022

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Life of Pablo

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I'm only two days into my first freshman semester
Chill out. I can remember freshmen year thinking I had a big work load, but looking back on it, it wasn't that bad. Once you get into the swing of things, it'll seem way more manageable. Do yourself a favor and stop freaking out.
 

Symphonies

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Maybe it's just me considering I'm not the sharpest, but I almost never slept eight hours a day my freshman year, and I still don't. The only way I find myself able to fit all I do into the day is running on 4-6 hours sleep tops...
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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Maybe it's just me considering I'm not the sharpest, but I almost never slept eight hours a day my freshman year, and I still don't. The only way I find myself able to fit all I do into the day is running on 4-6 hours sleep tops...
My body simply can't do it for the long-term without adverse effects. I did in high-school and my memory and ability to think and problem solve really suffered. I'm not one of those people unfortunately.

I wish I could maybe pop a few adderalls but it's not worth it. Plus I have morals.
 
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Bruh you already have an "imma fail before I even start" mind set. Just go with the flow man I slept 12 hours a day and did ridiculously bad in some tests such as 30/100 in orgo midterm but in the end what only matters is did you learn anything from taking that class. If you feel like studying study. If you feel like hitting the bar if you are above 21, then go for it. If you feel like doing an all-nighter then go for it. You don't need to be perfect mate, just be yourself. In the end what matters most is how you improved from your experiences and how you enjoy your life. Besides, it's freshman year man errybody makes mistakes. I had a 2.01 gpa at one point but finished with a 3.89. Dont strain yourself be happy bruh.
 

SmileItsLife

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Don't take notes when you are prereading..... your notes in class will be far more streamlined and focused on what will be tested. This will help you learn the info your teacher thinks is most important because you are forced to focus on the important material when reviewing your notes.

If you teacher posts PowerPoints write on top of those and study those. If he/she just lectures without a ppt, then just write in a notebook. I think you're getting overwhelmed because your basically rewriting the textbook.

That said- I don't think pre reading is necessary for every class as it is...
 
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Kou_KeiKi

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tbh college isn't bad at all... it's not even that much harder than high school. But again I'm one of those kids who took 7 APs a year during high school so take that with a grain of salt.

I do feel like you need to be much more self-motivated in college. No one would force you to do anything like in high school. Pretty sure self-motivation is the key to succeed in college.
 

wengerout

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tbh college isn't bad at all... it's not even that much harder than high school. But again I'm one of those kids who took 7 APs a year during high school so take that with a grain of salt.

I do feel like you need to be much more self-motivated in college. No one would force you to do anything like in high school. Pretty sure self-motivation is the key to succeed in college.
Ironically I did worse in high school than college. It wasn't even close.

OP chill and stay on top of things day by day. Also make sure to start off with a low amount of credit hours (12-14).


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Illumident

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Start with a planner to organize your weekly assignments. Break the readings down to a realistic schedule based on your own timeframe. I use my weekends to catch up on whatever wasn't immediately due on the weekdays (i.e. readings and notes).

Cutting down your commute time will also help tremendously with extracurricular activities in the future. If you're spending 2 hours per day commuting, that's 10 hours a week you could have spent sleeping, studying or being involved with an organization.

Don't allow yourself to succumb to an overwhelmed mentality. It all seems like a lot, but if you budget your time wisely, you can get most, if not all, done.
 
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Auntymarkovnikov

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Aim for a 4.0
If you have the motivation you will succeed.
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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Don't take notes when you are prereading..... your notes in class will be far more streamlined and focused on what will be tested. This will help you learn the info your teacher thinks is most important because you are forced to focus on the important material when reviewing your notes.

If you teacher posts PowerPoints write on top of those and study those. If he/she just lectures without a ppt, then just write in a notebook. I think you're getting overwhelmed because your basically rewriting the textbook.

That said- I don't think pre reading is necessary for every class as it is...
I thoroughly read the book for the profs who are known to sneak in content from the book not discussed in lecture on tests.


Also LOL at the people saying to go out partying thinking that everything will fix itself. I'm still partially paying for my own tuition!
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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From what I've read, your problem isn't perfectionism, it's anxiety. You are worried about things that you shouldn't waste your time or energy on. Trust me, you'll need it for later. Now, it's OK to be anxious, but if you want to be a good student, but most importantly a good doctor, you are going to have to learn how to get a grip on your anxiety. This comes with experience, but just take a couple deep breaths when you are feeling nervous and keep pushing through. Realize when you are simply being anxious and learn to control your emotions. You will start feeling more at ease. In the meantime, study your best and try figuring out what works for you. Eventually, if you care, you are going to do well, no doubt. College is a game - figure out how to get from one level to the next and just worry about what you're doing now. Don't worry, by the time you take a step back, you will be graduating, trust me.
I know it's important not to be anxious in order to be a good doctor, but I can't be one if I fail now. Fear is the best motivator. For me, fear of failing to get into dental school and the accompanying humiliation is more than enough to drive me through sleepless nights if I have to. I feed off of negative emotions to keep myself going.
 

blablabla1

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Okay no offense but college really shouldn't be where you're feeling like you're drinking from a fire hose. There is so much free time and one semester's coursework is covered in the period of a month in dental school.

You also shouldn't be studying this much in your first couple weeks of college, make friends, join some organizations, get involved!

As for study tips:

1. Forget pre reading. It definitely helps, but just skimming through the PowerPoint for the next day in 5-10 minutes is enough. Having taken some classes regarding cognition, when you pre-read, your brain creates these "slots" for the terminology you "pre-read" and this makes learning in class easier. But doing anything more than that is inefficiency at best.

2. One of the keys to dental school is keeping up with material every day. College isn't that much different. Go over a lecture on the same day you had the lecture so it's fresh in your mind.

3. Here's where putting down the books and making friends becomes important: find out what classes don't require textbook reading and which ones do from upperclassmen and other peers. I'm personally a slow textbook reader but a quick PowerPoint learner so I tried my best to enroll in classes that didn't use textbooks as much.

4. Learn your learning style. Everyone is different, asking SDN is an exercise in futility. Ask: in what cases do I memorize information the fastest? In what cases do I understand concepts the fastest? And start applying those strategies to your daily studying. There are some websites online that may have quizzes to help you and your undergrad counseling/student center should also offer quizzes that can help you find your learning style.

5. This may be the most important one for you specifically: Learn how to destress and problem-solve. Running to SDN for every little problem in your life is not sustainable in the long run. Find some (realistic) hobby that relaxes you in times of great stress and start critically thinking about problems that come up in your life; Do some research online or talk to some friends.

6. Be patient. Not everything comes to everyone immediately. For some, the transition into college is a piece of cake. For others, it takes them a semester or two to adapt. But most everyone who sincerely tries to look at what they're doing wrong and improve on it figures it out in the end
 
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blablabla1

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I thoroughly read the book for the profs who are known to sneak in content from the book not discussed in lecture on tests.


Also LOL at the people saying to go out partying thinking that everything will fix itself. I'm still partially paying for my own tuition!
To be a dentist you have to be smart and know when it is appropriate and when it isn't appropriate to be thorough. This applies to when you're practicing or studying as a dental student. Sometimes (actually, all the time) there's just no time to be combing through every piece of information and you're screwing yourself over if you do
 
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SmileItsLife

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I thoroughly read the book for the profs who are known to sneak in content from the book not discussed in lecture on tests.


Also LOL at the people saying to go out partying thinking that everything will fix itself. I'm still partially paying for my own tuition!
Most professors with that reputation usually only "sneak in" 1 or 2 questions. You don't have to learn everything. I stick by my advice.

Also I agree with the people that say you should party a little bit. Of course you don't go out every weekend unless you are super smart, but you'll get burned out if you are just: study, study, study, which will end up giving you lower grades. I would trust all of the advice given is with the best intentions, but might not work for you.
 
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SmileItsLife

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Okay no offense but college really shouldn't be where you're feeling like you're drinking from a fire hose. There is so much free time and one semester's coursework is covered in the period of a month in dental school.

You also shouldn't be studying this much in your first couple weeks of college, make friends, join some organizations, get involved!

As for study tips:

1. Forget pre reading. It definitely helps, but just skimming through the PowerPoint for the next day in 5-10 minutes is enough. Having taken some classes regarding cognition, when you pre-read, your brain creates these "slots" for the terminology you "pre-read" and this makes learning in class easier. But doing anything more than that is inefficiency at best.

2. One of the keys to dental school is keeping up with material every day. College isn't that much different. Go over a lecture on the same day you had the lecture so it's fresh in your mind.

3. Here's where putting down the books and making friends becomes important: find out what classes don't require textbook reading and which ones do from upperclassmen and other peers. I'm personally a slow textbook reader but a quick PowerPoint learner so I tried my best to enroll in classes that didn't use textbooks as much.

4. Learn your learning style. Everyone is different, asking SDN is an exercise in futility. Ask: in what cases do I memorize information the fastest? In what cases do I understand concepts the fastest? And start applying those strategies to your daily studying. There are some websites online that may have quizzes to help you and your undergrad counseling/student center should also offer quizzes that can help you find your learning style.

5. This may be the most important one for you specifically: Learn how to destress and problem-solve. Running to SDN for every little problem in your life is not sustainable in the long run. Find some (realistic) hobby that relaxes you in times of great stress and start critically thinking about problems that come up in your life; Do some research online or talk to some friends.

6. Be patient. Not everything comes to everyone immediately. For some, the transition into college is a piece of cake. For others, it takes them a semester or two to adapt. But most everyone who sincerely tries to look at what they're doing wrong and improve on it figures it out in the end
Key advice!
 

O Cabra

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You need to relax. Worrying is just going to make you do worse on tests and quizzes. I'm a senior and a chemistry major and I have read maybe one or two textbooks my entire college career. Most times lectures are sufficient and textbooks are just a helpful supplement. Reading them and taking notes on everything is an investment that does not have a worthwhile return. You will learn enough in lectures to be fine. My gpa is a 3.6, which isn't super high, but I'm also not killing myself studying all day long. I've only studied on a handful of weekends during my college career and I've been fine. Study smart and you won't have to kill yourself reading all your textbooks.


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Faefly

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A beautiful song has been ruined.
 

Faefly

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Wow, when I was your age, all I thought about was having fun!

Friends friends friends
That was me back then.


Now I don't care for fun and all I care about is suceed suceed suceed.

It's kinda astounding, someone who is probably 17 is stressing out during the first week of college!

Relax!

This should be a new experience, a new world!

Enjoy it, don't lose yourself in the process, and don't screw up your GPA!

It's that simple.

Why are you afraid of school? it's not gonna bite you!

Love the materials and they will love you back!

Trust me, from someone who hates Biology and loves everything else.

I loved learning and it paid off!

Except for Bio. I crammed my way there and Now I am paying the price during DAT prep


Americans!:whoa:

 

schmoob

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Because you only need C's to become a general dentist
If you're a perfectionist now, don't think that you will suddenly turn off that part of your brain in 4 years because all you need are C's. These habits will continue.
And if you are overwhelmed with bio 1 and chem 1, your courseload will be more than double that, not to mention the hours upon hours upon hours that you will be practicing in the sim lab. Dental School is not easy.
The best advice is adapt, learn how to study, and listen to the people who have done it before you.

Also LOL at the people saying to go out partying thinking that everything will fix itself. I'm still partially paying for my own tuition!
Scoffing at the advice you asked for will create issues. Going out and partying all the time will ruin your grades. But if you never do anything fun, you will get burnt out and maintain a constant elevated stress level. You won't think as clearly.
Exercise helps too.
Many people pay for their own tuition, you're not unique in that respect.
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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And if you spent as much time studying as you do posting on here you would be more than fine


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SDN is what I do during my quick study breaks
 

Krentist_72

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I remember all my non-science friends talking about how chill and whatever syllabus week was. Meanwhile I was stressing trying to plan out how I would juggle the seemingly dozens of exams and papers and quizzes. This seems to be what you're going through.

My best advice is doing what everyone else has said: try to relax. Take a breath for a fckn second. This goes for all your prior posts-- no offense. Don't start thinking about DAT, interviews, choosing schools, etc until you have to. I have never been a procrastinator, been diagnosed with clinical anxiety, and this is still my best advice.
My grades weren't even close to 4.0 but if I stressed out and worked harder than I already did then I may have completely wasted my college experience. And thank god I didn't because I miss it every GD day since I graduated in May.
My mantra in college became: "am I happy?"
I wasn't happy in my initial major, so I changed it. I wasn't happy in my friend group, so I joined greek life (totally different topic but personally an incredible choice.) I wanted to study abroad, so I did. Three times. I hated my job, so I quit and found a job I genuinely and truly loved.
Pursue happiness. Always. ALWAYS. No ifs ands or buts. If you're finding yourself miserable just because you're pursuing a career you thought you wanted since you were 12, maybe it's time to take a step back, breathe, and find a new outlook on life.
I always hated the people who told me that grades don't matter in college, so I'm not going to say that. But happiness does. Have a few too many drinks, make a couple low key dumb decisions, binge watch Netflix, eat a whole pizza by yourself, make out with someone you just met. Whatever. Just plz pls relax and take one day at a time. You're 18. Live like it and don't rush through life
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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Like I said, I've chilled out since posting this Tuesday. In hindsight I clearly overreacted (one of my profs actually did say the first day of class is the worst because you learn all the stuff that is expected of you) and have toned it down a notch.
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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You still have much to learn about life.
I'm a goody-two-shoes, sorry. I abstain from all forms of caffeine except when I really need it during finals week, follow a teetotaler lifestyle, and choose to remain celibate. Without self-discipline I would have nothing, and frankly fail out of college. Turning my life around with discipline half-way through high-school is the only thing that saved me. I'm not about to let that go in the name of following the crowd of sheep who choose to indulge in these activities for no real rational reason. Sorry, but I had to let this be known.
 
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blablabla1

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I'm a goody-two-shoes, sorry. I abstain from all forms of caffeine except when I really need it during finals week, follow a teetotaler lifestyle, and choose to remain celibate. Without self-discipline I would have nothing, and frankly fail out of college. Turning my life around with discipline half-way through high-school is the only thing that saved me. I'm not about to let that go in the name of following the crowd of sheep who choose to indulge in these activities for no real rational reason. Sorry, but I had to let this be known.
One day you'll learn nuance.
 

Faefly

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I remember all my non-science friends talking about how chill and whatever syllabus week was. Meanwhile I was stressing trying to plan out how I would juggle the seemingly dozens of exams and papers and quizzes. This seems to be what you're going through.

My best advice is doing what everyone else has said: try to relax. Take a breath for a fckn second. This goes for all your prior posts-- no offense. Don't start thinking about DAT, interviews, choosing schools, etc until you have to. I have never been a procrastinator, been diagnosed with clinical anxiety, and this is still my best advice.
My grades weren't even close to 4.0 but if I stressed out and worked harder than I already did then I may have completely wasted my college experience. And thank god I didn't because I miss it every GD day since I graduated in May.
My mantra in college became: "am I happy?"
I wasn't happy in my initial major, so I changed it. I wasn't happy in my friend group, so I joined greek life (totally different topic but personally an incredible choice.) I wanted to study abroad, so I did. Three times. I hated my job, so I quit and found a job I genuinely and truly loved.
Pursue happiness. Always. ALWAYS. No ifs ands or buts. If you're finding yourself miserable just because you're pursuing a career you thought you wanted since you were 12, maybe it's time to take a step back, breathe, and find a new outlook on life.
I always hated the people who told me that grades don't matter in college, so I'm not going to say that. But happiness does. Have a few too many drinks, make a couple low key dumb decisions, binge watch Netflix, eat a whole pizza by yourself, make out with someone you just met. Whatever. Just plz pls relax and take one day at a time. You're 18. Live like it and don't rush through life
Preach!
Great advice!
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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This is going to be a drastic 180, but I'm somewhat considering dropping out of college right now due to a combination of familial and mental conflicts. I'm just asking myself is it worth it? I could work as an EMT for scraps and see about living independently. I know I'm not performing at the level I need to be to succeed in this curriculum for the long run b/c of the aforementioned reasons. Maybe I should suffer through it and see if I can graduate in 3 years with a finance major and start living my life independently? I know SDN isn't a place for counseling; I'm stuck between a boulder and a hard spot.

I'll get back later; maybe I will regret posting this.
 

artist2022

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I know SDN isn't a place for counseling
Then why continuously post?! Everyone goes through their own difficult times, but you are too ridiculous at times with your posts- you barely started undergrad and you're already freaking out about things you should think about ~3 years from now. Stop.
 
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Ollivander

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I found it very feasible to balance the prereqs when I wasn't a biology major. I had a couple semesters where I'd be taking 15-17 credits of straight biology/chemistry. After those I switched to finance where I would only be taking 2 pre-dental prereqs each semester. It did wonders for my GPA.
 
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Rand627

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Every single one of you people replying are replying to a troll. This person is not real, they are fabricating all of these stories in all of these threads.
 
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