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Soul Searching

Posted by on January 24, 2012

The past month or so has been a little rough…it’s gotten even more tricky since school has started up again.

I continue to question whether or not I can do this.  People tell you before joining a Ph.D. program that it’s hard.  If you’re like me, you’ll probably shrug it off, and think, “Well, maybe it is hard for them.  But I’ve done grad school, and how bad can classes and a little research be?”  And then you get there…and realize that you’re not playing with the little kids undergrads anymore.  You’re supposed to be big time; putting out publishable material; coming up with original concepts for your field…and it doesn’t matter that you’ve only been there 4 months.  You are no longer in the field, you ARE the field.  And sometimes that can be scary, intimidating stuff.

The hard part is, I actually like what I’m doing, for the most part.  I like researching new ideas and writing papers; I love the moment when it all starts to come together, and I can point to something I wrote and feel victorious that my ideas actually make sense.  And although I’m not a huge fan of the necessary statistics, it’s really exciting when it shows you that there is some mathematical link between your ideas.  Plus, I don’t think I’ve mentioned the conferences.  You get to travel to places (like Vancouver!!) to LEARN!  How cool is that?

It’s just…it’s a lot of pressure.  All the time.  I have a class that wants us to put out TWO items for publication in addition to everything else going on in my four classes this semester.  Four classes at the Ph.D. level in of itself is a ton of work.  I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like next year when I have TA-ing and other obligations to attend to.

Right now I’m just freaking out and nervous.  This happens at the beginning of every semester.  Part of me is super tempted to start looking for a job.  In some ways, I feel like working would just be a lot easier right now.  Although I would lose about 2 weeks of winter break, I would gain my weekends (for the most part) and ditch a lot of the extra work.

But right now, I’m in it for the long haul.  I made a commitment to invest in my future self.  As much as things can occasionally suck, I wanted this.  I wanted this even after being warned by several people how much it would suck.  In the end, I just pray that I’m good enough.

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