November 23, 2012

A Bit Lost, But Thankful

I've been in Hungary for almost three months!  I've learned the lay of the land, had some fun, but have mostly been buried under my research.  It's weird, but I feel like I've been here for years.  I don't feel like "me" anymore.

Removed from my "normal" life, I'm a bit harried.  I'm always rushing, there's never enough time to do everything I want to do.  This is sometimes a problem at home, too, but it's somehow magnified here.  One thing I do seem to have lots of time for is introspection.  I'm always lost in thought as I make my way through the city to the library (on what has to be the most rickety bus).  I think it's the beautiful surroundings that make me think more.  Is it the gloomy, grey weather that is shaping my thoughts?

I'm not sure I know what I want to be when I grow up anymore.  I thought I knew where my talents lie, but recently my confidence has been shaken.  I want to do everything, but feel like I'm not really good at anything.  In any case, I'm thankful for the luxury of being able to contemplate these things.  I'm also thankful for the friends, family and Hubby who motivate me to try harder.


P.S. And of course I messed up the time when I set this post to publish, so it only went live later in the afternoon (EST).  Le sigh.  It's been one of those days.  Here's to the weekend, when I hope everything turns around and the sun shines.

8 comments:

  1. Hang in there, It is hard to be away from home let alone so far for so long.
    Is your mom still with you?
    I know just from spending the weekend away from my family was hard, I can imagine how it starts to shake you of your confidence. But it will get better. You give such inspiration and time to others that it will all come back to you thru good karma.
    Take care.
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amy, that really means a lot to me. My Mom leaves next week!! Then I'm alone for a couple of weeks until Hubby comes for a visit and we go home to Canada together. I'm hoping it's the change in scenery that has me feeling so weird.

      Delete
  2. I think this feeling is pretty common for PhD students in the humanities, at least from my experience. Hang in there, and you will figure it out. I left my program because of these kinds of doubts, but they were nagging me for years. You will find your path, even if it's the one you're already on. Good luck :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Imposter Syndrome, right? I wish I was less of a Type A. I think I need to start yoga and become a little more chill with the way things are. I've already re-routed from law school, switched disciplines and quit a second MA I started. Maybe I'm meant to be a path switcher ;)

      Delete
  3. I struggle with a lot of the same feelings - I feel like a Jack of All Trades, Master of None. And I also switched programs (and careers) like one switches socks, so I definitely relate. Years ago, I decided I just wanted to be happy, no matter what I was doing or where I was going. It's a bit selfish, but now I base my decisions around what will make me happiest, and whatever feels "right." The Dali Llama teaches that when you are happy, your happiness spreads to others - it's almost contagious. But what makes you happy also changes - sometimes by the day, sometimes by the year. It's elusive, but I think a worthy pursuit. And you're damn good at pursuing things :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny you mention happiness because I JUST today told my Mom that I am going to work really hard on not framing my self worth around being "good" or "the best" at things, but just work at enjoying what I do and finding other things that bring me joy. Because it's so true that happiness spreads and, at the end of the day, I think it's what really matters. I don't think it's selfish, because I'd like to foster the happiness of those around me as I go. Because when I'm UN-happy, boy do I make everyone miserable, even if I'm not trying. LOL. So, yep, I'm working on being happy. I feel happier already excusing myself from the goal of being super damn awesome at everything.

      Delete
  4. Just a couple of thoughts to balance that "I" syndrome you mention, Tanya. I am the registrar for a small graduate school in the Midwest, and I am privileged to assist students with lots of the kind of self-questioning you are going through. It's a huge move from "doing what people think I ought to" or even "doing what people tell me I'm great at" to "doing what I was born to do." Figuring out that last thing can take those of us with diversified gifts a lot longer than those who are blessed with one great big stand-alone gift. The great thing about people with the diversified gifts is that they can bring the knowledge they gather in one area into their next effort. So, for example... someone who studied law and agriculture turns out to have all kinds of insights into the between-the-lines cultural stuff that shows up in the literature of ancient cultures. Someone who has a degree in electrical engineering turns out to be really gifted at learning a language -- in a totally organized and color-coded framework. This kind of cross-pollination of specializations happens a whole lot more in North America (where guaranteed fellowships for graduate school are getting rarer all the time) than it does in Europe, where people get on an academic track early and can draw from public funding for their schooling. I don't think it's great that we don't have as much financial support for education, but I do like the injection of new ideas that comes from people whose experiences are varied and creative. You sound like the kind of person whose creativity is off the scale, and who may need to fill in some factual gaps here and there. But look at it this way: creativity can't be learned. And the gaps will get filled because you have the intelligence to apply yourself if you figure out that you need to. Wishing you joy in this journey of discovery!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't tell you how much this comment means to me. I felt a total "whoosh" of calm after I read it! It's so nice to hear about this grad experience from someone who knows it well. You make it sound much less overwhelming than I sometimes feel it to be - which is much appreciated.

      It is uplifting to here that diversified skills are just as valuable as really specialized abilities. I am starting to rethink things and feeling better about not being specializing. I don't think I can imagine life without the creativity I enjoy, and the research that feels meaningful to me. I don't think I could choose just one thing to do. I NEED this variety, so I need to work on finding balance and not feeling guilty about pursuing creative endeavors.

      Thank you also for reminding me to appreciate the fact I have the privilege of being in grad school (with funding!). I really appreciate you taking the time to quell my nerves!

      Delete

You've made my day! I love hearing from you.
Unless you're a spammer. Spam commenters, you're out of luck: I approve each and every comment, so don't waste your time here :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...