Monday, October 23, 2006

Tips for despairing grad students

Tip #2* Hang out with people who are more depressed than you are.

I began the day feeling completely incompetent and (therefore**) miserable. By late this afternoon I was back on an even keel. When thinking back through the day to work out what the turning point was, I realised it was two conversations I had in quick succession: one with a fellow student who is so terrified at the prospect of having to organise his field work that it has spurred him into writing something (as a means of procrastination) for the first time in over six months; the other with someone who directed the conversation to any and every topic but her work, because every time she hears the word "thesis" or "dissertation" she bursts into tears.

After talking to these people I felt infinitely better about the state of my own research.

Go on, tell me I'm a bad person.


* Tip #1 can be found here.

** More on this causality later. In the post that so far exists only inside my head. (Welcome, all mind readers!)


Lucy said...

I'm having trouble finding people more depressed than me... At least I can be of use to others, though :)

turtlebella said...

Ahhh, the joys of graduate school. Must admit, I spent a good bit of it depressed and incompetent! But when it's over, it's over. And
oral or otherwise where faculty make you feel like the world's biggest idiot. This was the best part of graduating for me.

StyleyGeek said...

I already passed through the 'never having to take another exam again' bit, and that felt pretty damn good.

But part of what stresses me (apart from feeling incompetent) is that I actually DO love the research (and the teaching) and I'm always slightly worried that I'll not get an academic job and that these last months of grad school are the last I'll get to do of it. That would suck. And it's a big anti-motivation to finish!

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that one of the main advantages of sharing an office during my PhD was just how reasuring it was when the other person in the office started swearing loudly at the computer. Just that knowledge I was not the only one...


Julep said...

Personally, I take a certain amount of unholy pleasure when I cross paths with those unkempt, pasty, and desperate grad students who have been in my program longer than I have. It’s certainly not something I’m proud of, but at this point I’m willing to accept anything that will boost my shattered sense of self esteem.