The ramblings of an absent-minded doctoral student

The ramblings of an absent-minded doctoral student. Chronicling my life as I earn a PhD in history.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Feeling a little like Carrie Bradshaw

Daily I wonder what I’m doing with my life and whether I’ve made the right choices. Have I really been following my dreams? Or am I just afraid of failing and ready to give up because the path is difficult? I honestly don’t know, sometimes, whether or not I’m going to succeed in earning my PhD. I doubt myself constantly, wondering if I’m smart enough. Everyone else seems to have it all figured out, balancing life and school, getting great grades and managing to complete everything in such a timely and productive manner. And I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other people. Everyone works in their own ways. And maybe procrastination, albeit a bad habit, is my way. I think what I’m most worried about is not being adequate when it comes to researching my seminar/dissertation topic. I’m not even sure what I’m arguing. I have a vague inclination of what I want to write about, but I’m supposed to be proving something, writing something of significant historical value. I know that pirates affected trade, every historian knows that, but the question is how? In what capacity? Am I really capable of learning French, Dutch and potentially Spanish in order to complete this project in the next 3 years? Will I get enough funding to go overseas and do work in the archives? How do people do it? I have a Master’s degree, so I’m supposed to be somewhat ahead of some people, but in reality I feel so far behind, so unintelligent. I know others must deal with some of these feelings of inadequacy, but we all hide it so well. How do people take classes, do generals, research their topics and grade/DSL?! When do we just cut through all the bullshit and say “I have no idea what I’m doing?” Is it possible to ever be truly satisfied with our work, with our accomplishments, or has society warped us into believing that we're never enough, that we must always strive for more? Am I the only one who is going a little bit crazy here? And why is it that all of our successes are overshadowed by our failures and shortcomings? According to a 2009 sleep study, 65% of Americans lose sleep because of stress and 15% actually suffer from stress-induced insomnia (I, being one of those 15%). Our lives continue to become more fast-paced and we're encouraged to work harder for longer hours. When did work become so much more important than our sleep, our health, and our lives? I know that it's too much to ask, but all I want to do is relax. Anyone got some bubble bath or scented candles??? 

1 comment:

  1. How YOU do what YOU do blows my mind. Even the "thought" of learning French, Dutch & potentially Spanish even in 3 years makes me wanna just lay down. What I get from this post & the one after is it sounds like you are a little overwhelmed. If getting a Phd were easy "I'd" be doing it (Haha not!) but be careful how much you push yourself. Once in a while it's good for you to have that bubble bath!