Scholarly doubts

Today has been quite a day; a day full of reminders that I meant to be a scholar. Meant to be a scholar. But I must admit I don’t feel very scholarly at the moment.

I think I’m going to tell this tale in reverse order for a bit now, though I retain the right to jump around between points. (Yes, not a very scholarly way to write, is it?)

This evening, I was a guest of The Scottish Government for a reception welcoming Scotland’s Saltire Scholars. (Oh yeah, have I ever mentioned I’m one of those?) Well, the room was filled with 100+ people – Scottish government officials, university representatives, and scholars. Everyone was eager and excited and confident. And intelligent. Like, really intelligent. And I felt like an out-of-place small-town redneck playing make-believe. I mean, I managed the conversations just fine and knew what questions to ask others about their studies or jobs to sound all intelligent myself, but I just felt like such a fraud being there. I felt like I just wasn’t clever enough to be part of this group.

But before tonight, it was two essay assignments that have had me questioning my scholarly ability.

In fairness, the essays were “easy enough” and my marks for past work have been respectable. But I failed to put my best foot forward for these last two assignments. I don’t know if it’s because I failed to manage my time or if I just couldn’t find the motivation for them. But I know that I did not do my best work.

To be honest, I think I’ve let my life get in the way of my scholastic endeavours. I’ve been feeling a bit down because of my lower-than-ideal platelet count and I was feeling a bit down about Thanksgiving and Paul’s birthday. And that’s all in addition to other personal stresses I’ve been feeling recently.

And now I’m feeling very negative about myself. I feel as if I’ve let myself down and I’m questioning if I’ve made the right choice to do my master’s degree in the first place. I mean, I’ve always been the “stupid kid” and now I’m feeling a bit of truth to the label.

Maybe I’m crazy and my marks for these last two assignments will be fine. But I don’t feel that will be true. My ego is hurting these days and it’s bringing me down.

I’m not thinking about quitting nor do I think I’m on the verge of failing my way out the door. I’m just feeling stressed and frightened and that makes me feel insecure and uncertain and that makes me angry with myself.

I’m sorry for dumping this on you; I know you can’t fix it for me. And I’m not asking for praise and ego-building. I just need to share my insecurities sometimes, and when there’s no one on the couch next to me to sob to, you get it all.

I have another paper due next Monday and I’m feeling pretty confident about it. So maybe that will help my mood. And I guess tomorrow will be a library day. Maybe that will help me feel a bit more scholarly again …

7 Replies to “Scholarly doubts”

  1. You are not stupid and certainly not less intelligent than your fellow scholars. You have an exceptionally inquisitive mind and the intellect to make the most of it. You have had a lot to deal with, both recently and in your life in general. Don’t you dare doubt yourself. You are an amazing woman and more than capable of acing this course. I believe in you. You should too.

  2. You are NOT and NEVER have been the so-called “stupid kid”. Don’t sell yourself short. You have accomplished much and the world is yours for the taking. Go get them, girl!

  3. Thanks, everyone. I’m still floundering with my confidence a bit, but I know it’s just temporary. It’s hard to feel upbeat when I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I’m starting to the light. I think …

  4. How in the heck did you come up with the idea you were the “stupid kid?” You are one of the smartest people I know and I’m in awe of all you do. I would hope that this would be challenging because if it wasn’t, would you still be interested? Would you want to do what everyone else could easily do? You’re human and you’re not always going to be 100%. You are dealing with more than the average person your age has to deal with yet you are still doing far better than the average person. If that isn’t a testament to how smart you are, I don’t know what is. You are doing what the rest of us can only dream of doing. You’re amazing and inspiring.

    1. Thanks, Sharon! I am feeling a bit better about it all today and hope that I can manage to keep my confidence up for the rest of the term. Two more papers due this week then an exam the following week. Then I’m on winter break! (But I will be doing school work over the break, too!)

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