Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Graduate School Disease

Before I came to UPeace a wonderful person told me that the secret to grad school is not to believe your own self doubt. To not let yourself begin to think that you aren't as smart as the other people, or that they are doing better, or even that they are less confused... cause we'll all be faking it. Wise advice - but hard not to do. Doubt can fester like the most disgusting infection.

This is my month-o-thesis and I feel like I have embarked on the most insane of emotional roller-coasters. Each morning I pack up my knapsack and head off to school, walk through school and go to the peace park, where the internet doesn't function - in the hopes that will help with focus. I have a day where writing comes easily - and I feel like I am on track for meeting my goals, that really finishing is indeed possible, that I am clever, that this project is interesting, that I can do something with it! And then... the other days come and I feel like I can't get it right, that I have no idea what I am doing, that I must be doing it wrong, I am clearly not smart enough to be in graduate school and that what I am working on is of no use to anyone in the universe... and I pray that the morning will make graduate school seem possible again (I hear the wisdom of my grandmother, spoken through my mom's telling, that all things will look better in the morning).

I don't remember the last time where I spent so much time bribing myself to complete things, the: if you write (fill in a number of words or pages) you can go for a walk, or read a bit of a magazine or... My month-o-thesis is rapidly coming to an end - and there is still a lot to write... but hopefully tomorrow wakes feeling optimistic. If you have any tips on writing or editing - now is the time to share them.

Oh well, I am sure I will survive - and my writing companions are pretty cute, in their funny little waddlely ways.

I hope you're well!
peace to you,


  1. Wow! Diana, you've undertaken such an incredible project and while I know you know deep down that you can do it: you CAN do it! I'm sending you positive vibes full of motivation, creativity and confidence:) And if you need a break and a laugh, all this talk of grad school makes me think of phdcomics.com - check it out!

  2. I guess I'm a few months too late on this but I wanted to comment anyways. I think it's brave of you to pursue your Masters and I'm really proud of you for doing so. I myself received enough of a taste of that soul crushing self-doubt and intellectual paralysis throughout my undergrad that I'm very hesitant to even consider grad school. I assume that, by now, you discovered you can do it, are all finished and are basking in the glory that is having accomplished this seemingly massive undertaking.
    If you have any wisdom that you'd like to share from the experience I'd love to hear it ;)

  3. I don't think I have any wisdom - that is certainly not what they teach in grad school... :) I think most of academia is really just about slogging through and not taking yourself too seriously. I finished - I probably could have done better, I certainly could have done worse - but I learned a lot, experienced a lot, and enjoyed a lot along the way...