roasting marshmellows in phd hell

Graduate School Despair.

with 3 comments

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel kind of insane?

I have been working my way through a stack of library books all day, looking through the dense bullshit language for a few useful lines I can quote or put in a footnote.  I’ve also been refreshing bullshit webpages I shouldn’t be wasting my time reading,making phone calls, drinking too much coffee, and otherwise employing my mind in useless and prob destructive ways.

I feel so panicky and sick.  My stomach hurts.  I feel kind of sweaty and gross.  All I know is that in order to finish this chapter, I need some info to back up my premise, historical commentary mostly, and though I’ve wasted so much time reading/skimming countless bad smelling library books and looking at JSTOR til my eyeballs hurt, I can’t find whatever it is that I’m looking for.  I know that it’s out there, and that I’ve probably read 87 things that would have done just fine.  I don’t know what is behind my paralysis.  I don’t know why I can’t just get shit done, or why I feel like someone as annoying as woody allen is doing a neverending standup routine in my  head.

There are so many ups and downs (mostly downs, let’s be real here) in this process that it’s so easy to feel alone and overwhelmed, like you jumped off a cruise ship at night on a drunken whim.  and now the boat speeds on, nobody knowing that you’re bobbing up and down in the black water, tipsy and stupid, all alone save your belly flop contest medal and the rolls you stuffed into your pocket at dinner.

Written by universityoflies

May 24, 2013 at 21:18

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Hi uol,

    Hang in there. Unfortunately, what you are describing is what I would say is normal for someone trying to finish up their dissertation. (Well, at least for someone who finds the process difficult). I experienced many of the same feelings as wou when I was finishing up, especially that sick, nervous/anxious feeling as I was writing. Shoot, I was so wound-up during the writing of re-write of one chapter that I literally screamed and jumped off of my couch when I hurt someone drop something outside on the street because I was so focused! That was the oint when I said to myself that I was trippin’, but the good thing is that the chapter got done and I never looked back! It truly sucks to go through, but you WILL be okay. It’s just like you said–you are overwhelmed by the seeming enormity of what you are doing, but keep in mind that you ARE making progress. Sometimes it’s just small progress, but it’s progress nonetheless. You will get through and your loyal post-ac interweb friends wupport you!

    Kimberly Couvson-Liebe

    May 28, 2013 at 07:45

  2. Gee, typos (evil non-American keyboard)! What I was trying to write is that I was also pretty wound-up and overwhelmed at times while dissertating, in large part because I absolutely hated the process–especially the isolation and being with my own thoughts and in my head all the time. I’ve since learned that while I still love research, I need to do it in a different way and the dissertation writing was just part of getting me there. As I said, hang in there you will get through this!

    Kimberly Couvson-Liebe

    May 28, 2013 at 07:48

    • Thanks for the kind words, Kimberly. The isolation is the worst. It’s always reassuring to hear from people who have come out the other side. Thanks again.


      May 28, 2013 at 15:12

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