Existential crisis I.0

Its my second quarter in this program and so far I hadn’t had a day of doubt as far as doing this Ph.D was concerned. Most friends and people back home, have expressed their astonishment at me wanting to go back to school for another 5 year or so– I already have a 5 year undergrad and 2.5 year graduate degree. And my answer has always been, I love this and I’ve always wanted to do this. Today however was my first day of doubts. I think I almost had an anxiety attack thinking about where this is going and what I am doing here. Part of the reason for this is a difficult situation with a certain Professor, which is partly my fault. The other aspect of it though, which is largely responsible for the nerves is the acknowledgement of the fact that for the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself procrastinating a lot.  So much so that this afternoon, it led me to question whether I was even suited to be in this place.

The thing about graduate school is, not only does everyone around you expect excellence and commitment from you, but you expect it of yourself……expect much more of it from yourself. You live, breathe, eat and dream school– or at least you ought to. When I was in school, and by school here, I mean middle and high school, there was always a way out. One could apologize for one’s mistakes and move on. In graduate school however, I feel like there are almost never any second chances. Opinions are almost always permanent, especially within the Professor student dynamic. I worry about what professors think of me a lot for some reason. Maybe because I feel the need to prove myself, and create a space for myself. Being an international student, there is the added pressure of doing something great because one chose to move so far away from ones country and people. There is the other dimension of an almost non-existant support system. There are friends…..good friends, but one hesitates a lot in talking of such matters with them. I especially find it hard to ask for support, emotional support because I have always been the one giving it and I have never learnt to take support from anyone.

During my earlier stint in grad school–which was somewhat shorter– someone told me that a grad students emotional health and well being is like a sine wave, there are almost constant ups and downs and if one flat lines, one should just give up– flatlining means one isn’t learning. Its hard– this learning and I am definitely on the down. But one can’t wallow in ones misery for long. There are things waiting to be read and written, analyzed and criticized. So all in all, this post is my attempt to put my misery and feeling of inadequacy out there. And once its out there, the hope is that I can move on to what I really should be doing right now– Reading and Writing.

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