The Overwhelmed Pseudoacademic

Those who have spent a lot of time talking with me over the years will know and understand that I swing from one end of the spectrum to the other when it comes to the success of a project. For everyone else, I have complete and utter faith in their abilities, I know that they have amazing potential, and I trust in the resiliency of the creative human spirit. I have awesome friends, brilliant coauthors, and I am related by blood and/or marriage to some phenomenal folks.

On nights like tonight, I feel utterly overwhelmed as I sit in the corner of my office, staring at notes that make absolutely no sense to me whatsoever, wondering what in the WORLD memorization of all of the stuff that my professors have to look up in order to remember the minutia I’m expected to spill onto a screen over the course of two days will prove, other than I know how to memorize.

In my fit of trying not to fall apart in tears of frustration, I’m trying not to point the finger of “YOU EDUCATIONAL HYPOCRITES! I THOUGHT APPLICATION TRUMPED MEMORIZATION! LET ME HAVE MY REFERENCE MATERIALS!” at the rest of the world.

… and I have no patience for “this is how it’s always been, it’s a rite of passage.” That was the same for chicken pox for second-graders, ass-grabs for new secretaries in smoky Mad-men-esque offices, and a wealth of poor choices in academia. I’m not a fan of traditions that have no purpose other than to carry on a tradition because everyone else had to suffer through it.



… and time for me to take a deep breath. I’ll likely go and curl in a corner and cry for a bit, just to take the edge of the stress off. There’s just so MUCH to prepare, and I can’t help but be mad. Mad at myself for not knowing more going into this… why didn’t I prepare all of these papers the right way the first time? Why did I rely upon my classmates to do their jobs? Why didn’t the professor tell them that they did shitty summaries of the material and wasted SO MUCH CLASS TIME with this regurgitation rather than actual discussion.

I’m so mad. So busy, so many responsibilities, and I’m freaking out because trying to figure out where to start is making my head hurt and my stomach twist. No wonder people go mad at this point in the grad school process. I’m going to be talking to the ponies on my shelf, and I’ll be convinced that they’re talking back to me.

By the way, Rarity agrees that this is the worst thing ever. She said so.

I wish I could take time off from work, but it’s the start of the semester and that’s not possible yet. I wish that I didn’t have so much to do at the dayjob so that I would be able to sit and study, but I have too many damn responsibilities that keep me from being able to prepare. WHO THE HELL SAID I WAS THE TIME MANAGEMENT GURU? LIES! LIES, ALL OF THEM!

Throw back the curtain, kids. It’s just Herman Smith, from Atlantic City!

(I hope you got that reference. Richard Pryor was the best Wiz ever.)

I want to stay up for a few more hours and try to get through this article, get a better handle on what I need to know in order to answer these questions on the study guide. I want to be able to add hours in the day until I’m certain that I’m not stupid and incapable of getting through this exam… but so help me, even as I type that, I can *see* A Kovacs giving me a stern talking-to like she did in the bar at Balticon when I put the words “I can’t” together when I referenced writing something. “You don’t say that, because you can. Those words don’t belong in your vocabulary around me,” or something to that effect. And deep down I know that I can, and that I will, but… holy hell, this is daunting, and I’m tired, and there’s so much more to do.

I want Rhikki’s intelligence, Charlie’s swagger, Mira’s resilience, and Ramona’s street-smarts. Just wrap them all up and hand them to me, shove ’em inside my brain. Better yet, can me and tell those Metisans to put me in blue wireframe. Just think of the processing power.

Until then, though… I run on coffee. Grit, determination, and coffee.

Persist, right? Maintain perspective, and persist.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 at 10:05 pm and is filed under academics, PhD Ruminations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “The Overwhelmed Pseudoacademic”

  1. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    {HUGS, sympathetic look}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Doc Coleman Says:

    The best way past is often through. Not easy, but often best.

    And as for having all those people in your brain, last I checked, they were already there. Sometimes it seems like we need to re-balance the sound board of our internal chorus to keep those voices that say “You can’t!” from drowning out the ones that say “You can!”. You can do this.