This Is Nothing

Insane Graduate School Edition


Voices in my head

In all the reflecting I've done on "how did I end up in grad school" and "what made me think I'd become a research scientist" I kept coming across a "should" voice. I mean, for lots of decisions I've made there was an "I should ____" attached to it. Like:

I get great grades in my biology and chemistry classes, I should go into science!

I really enjoy learning about science, I should go to grad school and learn more.

My best test scores are in reading comprehension, but I should focus on a high-tech profession because being an English major might mean no job.

This "I should" voice often teamed up with my dreaded "enough" voice and created some very challenging situations:

I'm not moving as fast as other students, I'm not working hard enough. I should be better at this.

I don't think like the other students do. I'm not assertive or extroverted enough, inquisitive enough. I should be better at this.

This morning, as I walked to my lab, I heard the should and enough voices start in, when another voice pipe up:

So what? Who cares what I should do? Who cares if it is enough? Buzz off.

Life is really interesting right now. Yes, there's so much to do to finish my PhD that it threatens to completely overwhelm me at times. I'm human. But with the end in sight I've seen new thoughts emerge. New lines of opportunity. New discoveries about myself and what makes me feel happy and strong, and what makes me feel sad and weak. And recognizing that the former is worth pursuing and the latter isn't worth my time and focus. Being the introvert that I am, all this self discovery is fascinating to me, exhilarating even. And it's all at just the right time to keep me moving forward and out of this door and into a new adventure.


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