succumbing to peer pressure

Monday, May 31, 2004

The Test

Tonight brought on my first full-blown, had-to-leave-the-house panic attack in a loooooong time. Fortunately, a few minutes wandering around the complex under moonlight filtered through tree leaves and my shoulders climbed back down to a reasonable position and my body remembered how to breathe again. The thing is (insert Sanna saying, "What's the thing?") I'm beginning to think that by Friday I'll actually feel pretty good about my studying, I'll feel like I've done everything I can do to prepare. But I'm beginning to feel like everything I can do may not be enough. After going through certain problems today it became clear that there are just certain concepts I'm not going to get, certain questions I am likely to misinterpret. So it's beginning to feel a little like my success or failure on this test is going to be up to potluck on which questions turn up Friday morning. Which just seems cruelly unfair. Yes, when I'm being rational, I realize that the odds are in my favor. But since when was stressing over a test rational?

Tangentially, I've been thinking a lot more about this whole PhD thing. And going through this process of studying and stressing has made me start thinking that getting a PhD really is something that sets people apart. It doesn't make them better or worse, just different. I suppose that fades as we get older, further away from this whole school thing. Going to grad school was hardly even a decision for me - several of my relatives have advanced degrees, it was always assumed that I would go to college, and once I settled on statistics and realized that an advanced degree was the only way I'd be able to do the sort of statistics I want to do, it just seemed like the natural next step. Grad school has never been made into a big thing in my family. Of course, they're proud of the work I'm doing, but it's never been like, Wow. Megan is getting her PhD. It's been more like, well sure, Megan went to grad school. And...I don't know...I guess I just always thought of it as a big deal for other people, but somehow less so in my case. And I'm beginning to think maybe it is a Big Thing for me to. Like maybe I'm beginning to earn those letters that will one day be hanging out behind my name.

ps - I'm really not writing this as a fishing expedition for sympathy or encouragement or anything (though, of course, I really appreciate everyone who has offered either lately). Just trying to loosen some of the pressure in my chest.


Post a Comment

<< Home