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.