Oh, darlings, there are oh so many reasons for my perpetual state of panic. Depends on the day. Heck, depends on the hour. Right now it has to do with higher education.
I consider myself a reasonably intelligent, reasonably well-education person. I've realised years ago that has absolutely no bearing on academic success. The universe is a baffling place, more so planet Earth, and you'd think academia would be a meritocracy, but then you'd be so very wrong I'd laugh and point if I weren't, you know, crying in a corner.
I could go on about the difficulties of academic life in the most general terms, but this post is about me, thus I hardly think comparisons to others' situations will contribute in any worthwhile way. Mostly, I'm going to touch on what a big mess I am; I scarcely need to move out of seeming objectivity for that.
I've spent most of today rounding on this topic in the back of my mind, without accomplishing much more than muddling up an already confounded mindset. I have a very confused and undisciplined work ethic and truly horrible work habits, which both obscured the issue for me and represents the main problem I have. I have yet to figure out a way to work that works for me in that it proves to be the most productive in the long run. Circling the issue, whichever that might be in any given situation, does not remain just a starting strategy but rather goes on until I reach a crisis where I must act in some way or bow out. Put plainly, I start out enthusiastically, grow complacent, then experience a fight-or-flight juncture which I cannot live up to because of lack of preparedness, hence the ultimate flight response.
Even this last paragraph of navel-gazing does not elucidate the issue in any way, which just shows just how muddled I am. Honestly, I'm just scared out of my wits of failure to the point where I'm mentally self-sabotaging and have been for a while now.
I'm worried pretty much all the time, even if it's just in the back of my head. (That's not a very healthy way to go through life, but that's a different yet related can o' worms.)
I'm worried my BA thesis will royally suck. I'm worried that the preliminary work will not conclude in anything even resembling a thesis and I'll have to do heavy rewriting at the last minute. Hell, this might be the better course seeing as there's always the remotest chance I won't be finished at all—which might just get me from mild panic to genuine panic attack, so let's go with denial on that one for the moment.
Another aspect that I am not looking forward to because I'm not sure how to handle it is asking relative strangers for reference letters detailing my persona. I'm confused as to how to approach this situation (twice!) and how to get through it with something to show at the end of the ordeal. This is the biggest problem with having one semester to go before graduation and dropping out, only to return almost four years after the fact: no one really remembers me or knows me anymore. It's startling how easy it is to forget specifics about people. Hell, even specifics about a place where you spent all your time, both studying and at play, are hard to recall after so damn long. I can't blame anyone (other than myself, clearly), but the issue still persists. It's an uncomfortable situation to be in (twice!) and it won't resolve itself until I'm a second and a half away from taking the plunge.
I hate that I don't know if I'm aiming too high with my MA preferences. I don't know even if my applications are on point (once I get around to filling in more than just my name); they might just be completely outside of what is needed and expected of me, and I probably won't figure that out until I unceremoniously receive the brief note expressing the very certain view that I am not fit to attend my educational institutions of choice.
Which brings me to the next panic-filled thought—and this one I can't even do anything about! I'm not sure if, at the end of the day, the career slump I'm in can ever be overcome due to my grades—the only tangible proof of what I have achieved at my current institution—which currently exist as a motley collection unfit to mar the eyesight of any admittance committee.
It could just be that I've been away for so long and my prior record is so bad that the field I've chosen for myself is not one in which I can excel even if one were to stretch the definition of "excel" to near breaking point.
Mostly, though, I just can't stand the uncertainty. The precipice is a little wider and a little more echoey at second glance. Third glance does not help. I'm committed and staying both realistic and positive—trying to, at least. I hope to look back on this post a year from now—hell, six months from now, even—and be in a state of utter accomplishment. I hope the fear will subside enough to both keep me grounded and make me progress. Mostly, I just hope. And work—that's the only thing worth doing.