Monday, August 01, 2005

Throw a chimpanzee in the water, and watch her drown.

It has recently come to my attention that a number of judgements have been made against me based solely on my behavior in environments in which I do not flourish. There are a number of times in which I find myself in meetings in which it's not so much the exchange of ideas, but rather a fierce contest for air time, and that's not a game I like to play. My previous post captured the environment of these meetings quite well. I will not describe these scenarios further so not to be a witness against myself.

What it boils down to is this. Everything I've understood about graduate school, until now, has been all wrong. Thus far, I've treated it like another job at another company, rather than a place in which I must forge my own path. An entire year of research has passed by, and having finally pushed and pulled and clawed for the telling negative feedback from the higher-ups, I feel only shame. In the words of David Byrne, "My God, what have I done?"

I realize now that I must fight my own inclinations and behaviours if I want to stay here and succeed. I must interrupt people. I must brag about my work. I must ignore what I'm told by those in power and stand my ground. I must be technically creative. I must rely on no one. I must, in a completely disgusting stereotype, be a man.

At this crossroads, I must ask myself a very serious question. Do I want to stay here? I could ask the alternate question, "Do I belong here?" However, it's apparent to me--now more than ever--that I do not belong here, but that hasn't mattered for three years. Do I want to stay here? Will the next two, three, or four years of misery be worth the person I have to become to succeed and the degree I will obtain?

8 comments:

RussianViolets said...

I think that most grad students feel that way. I know that it's common in my discipline. Keep your chin up!

awu said...

:(

patbergschneider said...

Are you seriously considering leaving? Or are you venting? Either way, I wouldn't judge you... I'm just askin :)

Here's hoping things start looking up soon.

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

I would certainly leave if I had any kind of alternative. Right now, all I can think to do is find a rich old guy, marry for money, and become a stay-at-home novelist.

shannon said...

I wish you the strength and conviction to do what you need to do.

Theorygrrrl said...

I agree with RussianViolets - most grad students feel this way. And most grad students also think about quitting at some point or the other, it is rare not to. For the longest time, I thought I was the only one with such feelings; then one day, I told my officemate about them, and it was then that I realised that everyone thinks this way.

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

Thanks for all your words of support. A well-received presentation this week gave me more confidence, but I still feel a little weak in the knees. Perhaps, after all, grad school is like alcoholism--one day at a time.

Many thanks.

mrscake said...
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