#2: Doubt

I’ll be honest: I did not anticipate writing a post about this. (Heads up: the next post I’ll write will be about a Web site you may know.) But unfortunately, I’ve found myself at the end of a rough week I desperately wish would end.

It comes when you least expect it; when you get a C on a paper, when your classmate surpasses your abilities, when your parents ask why you’re studying what you’re studying until they shake their heads in disbelief. When it comes, your stomach sinks and you have no idea whether or not it’ll rise back up to where it’s supposed to sit. You get a taste in your mouth and it seems nothing can parch its dryness.

You wonder why. Constantly. Why you’re writing these papers about dead white men; or researching particles you can’t see; or questioning philosophies unmentioned for several years. Why do you bend over backwards in the hopes of snagging that priceless recommendation in order to attend that one special school you have your sights set on?

Why do you want to go to grad school, anyway?

The deal with doubt reminds me of a song from a musical that recently closed on Broadway; it describes this common and scary situation succinctly, calling them “vampires”:

The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair.
It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like:
‘Who do you think you’re kidding?’
‘You look like a fool.’
‘No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough.’

Every so often – like, ha, right now – I get stung by some troubling thoughts and I lose confidence in who I am, what I study and what I do. It’s easy to lose sight at what’s ahead, besides that shiny BA and a golden stole. But I have to remember it’s only temporary. And normal. And temporary.

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3 responses to “#2: Doubt

  1. Vani

    I love your refrence to the vampire and your questions that pop into your mind in the middle of the night I have been there!

  2. lastpersonleft

    Why do you write these papers about dead white men you ask?
    Quite simply… Because we have yet to realize that even greater contributions have been made by women and people of color.

    Why research particles you cannot see? Because although you can’t see them they make up every single part of your being. Those invisible components tell us who you are and tell me how you think and feel.

    You question philosophies because they are there to be questioned; Your questions and answers just add to the illusion of truth.

    And when that ever working mind of yours doubts the purpose of the glorious didactic journey that you are traversing and there seems to be no plausible answer to your queries…
    Like a sliver a light in the darkness; the most viable reason to endure this quest for knowledge will always be…

    Because your father said so!
    And that, my dear, is never temporary.
    Dad

  3. Pingback: From Swarthmore, on textbooks. « Across the Quad

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