Thursday, February 23, 2006


I was driving myself crazy earlier in the week worrying about my progress in graduate school. Being very interdisciplinary can be difficult at times. I often feel like I'm in an uncomfortable in-between space, which makes me worried that when it comes time to find a job no one will know what to do with me. But mostly, my discomfort is a sign of the uncomfortable nature of the quarter system. I have been stimulated enough by all the reading and discussions this quarter that I now want to write and get research ideas down on paper, but its starting to be crunch time for various class assignments, work for my advisor, and grading. Actually my discomfort is a good because if I'm frustrated that I'm not working on the right stuff then there must be something I really want to be working on. There are so many things I want to learn and work on that I think I need to be in school for a few more years. (I have been debating between a MA and a PhD.) Its very easy for me to become impatient and feel that I'm not getting enough done. If I continue with a PhD then maybe I'll feel less pressure to read everything right now. When I get too tired everything seems less fun and I start doubting myself (as Lisa, of The Paper Chase, rightly pointed out.) The strange thing is that I don't realize that I'm becoming overly tired because I get myself so wound up that I become manic and have trouble sleeping.

I still have some worries about my degree program because of lack of support and coordination, but I love my advisor. After searching all over for other people working in my speciality I'm just not finding another program that would be more appropriate. Also, our department and a related one are hiring three new faculty members this year, so I'm hopeful that will renew the energy of the department. At the moment my advisor and another female professor are carrying most of the departmental work, which makes it somewhat difficult to get her attention.

Recently, someone came to Big Ag U. to give workshops on The Imposter Syndrome. Its funny because sometimes I can relate to women who feel inferior, but at other times I'm completely judgemental and frustrated at the incompetence of those around me. (It must be a sign that I need more therapy.) In fact, I still remember thinking one day as an undergrad, after a session with a particularily incompetent professor, that if this woman could get her PhD, certainly I was capable of getting one. Isn't that terrible?

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