Monday, November 19, 2012

Out of the closet

I suck at science. I know, I've been working on science degrees or as a scientist in training for the last 16 years. Why has it taken me so damn long to figure out that I suck at what I do? I'll blame it on sheer doggedness and the fact that I could chalk it up to impostor syndrome most of the time. That and in grad school you're surrounded by friends who are struggling and it's easy to get some positive reinforcement from those friends, whether it's deserved or not.

For the last two and a half years I've pretty much been off on my own. Sure, for a while I was going in to work with Derrick, but I was hanging out with geophysicists who for the most part don't really care what I do. In those two and a half years I haven't had the crutch of friends to motivate me or reassure me and I've had to face the fact that outside the social scene of science I'm just not a scientist. I spend most of my time thinking about and doing other things. I'm not so passionate about my work that I put aside everything else to get it done; instead, I keep my house and my blog, I take photos, I cook, I read, and I write (but not science). Derrick, when he was finishing, was so passionate about his work that he shoved aside everything else in order to finish. Not to whine (but I'm gonna) but I don't think he realized how much of a burden that put on me. (I also don't think he realizes how resentful I am that everything him gets prioritized unless I make a big deal out of it. I don't want to make a big deal out of it. I want him to sacrifice something (a hobby for a little while, perhaps? Do you really need ANOTHER new tool chest?) and I don't want it to have to push for it every damn time). That burden soon became an excuse for me to not work very hard, and I haven't. Sure, sporadically I get motivated and get something done, but it's inconsistent. I get easily discouraged, easily depressed. I already know this is the end of science for me, that I'm a scientific loser, a dead end, a waste of resources and training. I'm never going to do anything with my scientific training. Really saps my motivation, thinking about that.

Which begs the question, why then am I even bothering to try to finish? I'm sitting here feeling sick to my stomach, wanting to cry and yell and vomit because I'm so frustrated that I'm not going to finish. I'm going to quit. It feels so wrong.

It is because I feel like I'm going to disappoint others? Because I'm going to. Hell, I already have. I've felt the disappointment of my advisor and committee members pretty much since I had a kid. I've had to re-prove myself as a serious student ever since then, and I've failed in every way. Everyone knows I'm faking. Everyone can see my heart lies elsewhere (or at least my time commitment). When I tell people I'm working on finishing I can see they sense the lie in the words, can see I'm just telling them what I think they want to hear. They know I'm lying to myself as I'm lying to them.

I'm not enough; I'm too lazy; I'm a loser. I will not graduate. I will not be one of those people who gets done through 45 minutes here and an hour there. I will fail.

And I will be alright. Somehow that's the worst of it.

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