Friday, April 08, 2011

The Hardest Part of Graduate School

It's not the workload; it's not the dense book chapters of high theory that I have to read. It's not the strict budgeting that I must perform or the very sudden and very scary enforced financial self-reliance. It's not the midwestern weather. It's not even the ridiculous price of avocados. The hardest part of graduate school is believing that I actually belong here. The most difficult thing is believing that I didn't just somehow sneak in, a desperate attempt on the department's part for some half-hearted diversity, the token hispanic in my year.

This kind of self-doubt is rather self-perpetuating. And I'm sure it affects the way that I present myself in my classes; when I speak, I raise my hand slowly as if afraid of danger and then make a statement that sounds more like a question, my voice inflected, my tone apologetic.

I am amazed--always have been, here or anywhere--at people who are self-assured, who have confidence. No matter how many times that I tell myself that I am curvy and that "real women have curves," I feel fat and berate myself cruelly for every snack, every beer, every meal in a restaurant. Regardless of the enthusiasm that I remind myself is going to make me a great teacher, I feel like I deserve to be some receptionist at a vet clinic in order to make room in this PhD program for someone who can speak articulately about Hegel or Marx and who didn't get accepted just because they weren't a minority.

I blog about this now because I was supposed to go to the gym last night but didn't because I was so distraught over something that happened in class and R convinced me over the phone that I deserved a hot bath and to read something for me and not for class. And so I'm also not going to the gym this morning because I didn't do any work last night.

Go figure.


Yesterday's outfit:

shirt: vintage, thrifted
cardigan: JCrew
skirt: American Apparel
belt: thrifted
tights: Sock Dreams
boots: Christmas present
earrings: Coldwater Creek

p.s. thanks to my dear friend Zach for snapping this shot outside Teaspoons for me =)