ellasomething: Ella. Duh. (Photo Booth)

I've been away from posting for quite some time—holy shit it's been just over five weeks what even!—, mainly due to my own issues with focusing and all that. There are always so many things going on that I can't really process it all, which is in itself not a great state of events, although I am working towards remedying that. Hell, even as I'm writing this particular post I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on making a point as such, if you know what I mean, though I'm fighting to write the damn post anyway because. This. Shit. Needs. To. Get. Done.

In any case, in this period of my life I'm still struggling with a million different things, as per usual, but what I would like to post about right now is how I'm sort of trampling all over the nicely-drawn boundaries of what I'm supposed to do with the degree I am about to receive, as well as the newly-minted life-course I had so painstakingly come up with in order to have something resembling a life goal.

I realised, over the course of this semester, that I should be branching out as much as I can in order to have an actual occupation come autumn. I'm not where I should be when it comes to academic work. I'm twenty-seven, which freaks me out in and of itself, but considering my peers are much further along than I am right at this very moment, the freaking-out factor is even higher. Therefore, I have begun to explore possible paths in unusual (for me) fields I would not have seriously considered in the past, not because there's anything wrong with the fields themselves but rather because I never saw myself as a good fit for them.

Even as I am applying for all sorts of posts, etc. that have nothing to do with what my plan for myself was even two months ago, I do know deep down inside that I am very unlikely to get what I want, but at least I'm going for it. These potential things I'm never going to get might just lead to something else, even if right now they're dead ends. And, really, there's nothing wrong with just simply going for it and applying even when you know you're the least likely candidate. I'm not a fan of networking, I suck at it when I do try, and it's not the sort of skill that is essential to my existence. However, building long-lasting professional relationships will have to happen somehow, and I'm willing to find alternatives to old-fashioned networking type things. This might just be my version of that.

To be perfectly honest, I've kind of stopped caring whether what I'm going for is appropriate or likely to lead to anything at all, as long as I come out of it at the end. There's so much fear and anxiety in me at any given point of the day, that I might as well stop functioning as a human being in society—but this is far from being an option! Hence, e-mails and applications and awkward online forms-filling because why not.

I'm not sure I made an actual point in this post, but, again, the caring side of me is on a break for the time being.

ellasomething: Ella. Duh. (Photo Booth)

As application deadlines are fast approaching, I'm doubting myself more and more, which is hardly surprising, but, in this case, it is due to some very specific factors.

The impression I'm getting is that everyone surrounding me, regardless of their function in my life, has much higher expectations of me than I either anticipate or have of myself. This leads to great amounts of confusion pertaining to whether these expectations are due to their perception of my abilities, or if it's simply the case that they cannot deal with anyone under their "supervision" performing on an average or mediocre level.

While it's grand to be on the receiving end of unconditional support and of the belief that you are prone to greatness, it does get tedious, not to mention nerve-racking, to have others claiming I am much more than I myself believe myself to be. This, in itself, is not problematic; disappointment and censorious looks is where I mentally abandon ship.

I do well solely under certain types and amounts of pressure. My anxiety gears are very flimsy and spontaneously liable to spin out of control. (No one wants this.) I have yet to learn how to harness other people's expectations into productivity and non-panicky thoughts.

Confession time: I abhor being in workaholic mode. The balance is precarious between healthily productive and clinically unwell. However much I achieve while working non-stop is totally not worth the mental breakdown swiftly following.

At this moment, I'm agonising over the topic of a particular writing sample due by the middle of March. It's fact that it has to be brilliant enough to compensate for my bad grades and erratic behaviour. I've begun doubting whether I'm even up to the challenge. Do I have it in me to accomplish good academic work in the fields of political science and philosophy? The whirlwind of negativity has yet to reach critical mass, but it's not far off, let me tell ya...

Taking things slowly—my strategy up to this point—is no longer feasible.

It's time to buckle down, though I seem to be missing the buckle.

Time is, in all seriousness, running out. I'm worried pretty much all the time, to be completely candid here, yet I have to (somehow) puzzle out how to build something using my anxiety, rather than letting it utterly consume me, which has been the case until now. I appreciate the expectations others have of me, because they are meant as instruments to push me forward, but I can't seem (yet) able to use them appropriately.

ellasomething: Ella. Duh. (Photo Booth)

This post comes to you courtesy of the Skype conversation I've just ended with one of my best friends, who is a great supporter of pretty much everything I do. Granted, most of my very close friends have the same attitude towards most of my endeavours. I can't for the life of me imagine why since all I seem to do these days is screw up royally, but there you go.

Essentially, I'm wondering once again about my life choices, especially graduate school. I've recently been told by yet another close friend that I don't have to do an MA if I don't want to. She's very adamant that I devise my own path in life and allow my inner (and, hopefully, outer) novelist to come out finally because that is simply what I desire most in life. She's definitely on the side of utterly giving yourself over to your own inner self and pursuing what makes you happy regardless of peer and family pressure. While I do appreciate this sentiment, I oftentimes don't trust my inner self to know its arse from its elbow.

Put even more simply than that, I make bad choices for no apparent reason.

Thoughts of what's best for me have been circling each other for some times now. I'm not working on autopilot yet, but I feel as if I am heading in that direction. This in itself is not necessarily bad due to a need I have of having my time filled with something that yields some form of result, and if I can achieve that by giving myself over to following a preconceived path, then I am all for it. On the other hand, I don't want to lose myself and become that automaton I fear I might just be if left to everyone else's devices but my own.

I've yet to find a balance. I've yet to feel balanced enough to either choose between the two or mix them up to a degree where it just works.

(On a different note, somewhat, Friend #1 from the start of this post recommended sharing my inner turmoil with the internet because of the relatable nature of what I am going through. To me it just sounds like more of my usual navel-gazing, but if this blog is about anything then it's about my penchant for navel-gazing, so let the bellybutton-inspection commence—or continue, as it were.)

Lest this turn into the bad sort of self-help nonsense one encounters on every dimly-lit corner of the internet, I'm going to turn towards the ever-present problem I'm having these days, namely graduate school.

To say this in the most candid way possible, it's just something that's expected of me, and I've actually come to expect it of myself as well, maybe more than everyone else around me (with very few exceptions, see above Friend #2). I want knowledge like I want water, and if you know me at all you'd know I desire water to an almost fetishistic degree, hence expect the same about my desire for knowledge. While attempting to justify why the entirety of my self seems to be increasingly sinking into books and websites and journals to an uncomprehending audience (i.e., my immediate family), I realised the only way I can get what I want (please please please...) is by continuing with an academic career. Hence, grad school. Hence, more applications and bureaucracy. Hence, bullshit and expectations and potentially-unfounded assumptions. Hence, all the anxiety I'm feeling right now and have been feeling for a while now with no idea when it will stop, if ever.

Will this achieve anything in the long run, except, of course, for the all-important pieces of paper with the pretty headers on embossed stationary? Your guess is as good as mine. Is this what I truly, madly, deeply want? Huh.

ellasomething: Ella. Duh. (Photo Booth)

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.

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ellasomething: Ella. Duh. (Default)
Ella Nicoară

October 2015

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