Topsy-Turvy Day

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about grad school. I was caught up on my reading, had figured out my research projects for this semester, and was going to a lecture about the Brooklyn Dodgers as Myth.

The lecture was so good–that’s one of the things I love about college–the opportunity to hear people talk about what they’ve researched and why it’s important to us today. Then I went to the library to start on my research projects.

I’m doing two projects so far: one is a paper on how Fantasy Football Leagues reflect the concept of community, and the other is creating a “dream” syllabus for a course I’d like to teach. My dream course is The Portrayal of Educators in Film.

I spent an hour in the library and found some great resources and will able to start writing very soon. I feel like I’m understanding theory, but part of that is my philosophy right now on theory. I need to understand it, and I need to know how to apply it, but I don’t have to be a person who lives and dies by theory and philosophy. It’s just not me. Maybe it’s from teaching high school for a while, but my perspective on what’s important in life is so different from my peers.

And that’s what led to me feeling icky. I went to class, feeling good about grad school. As we waited for the professor, we had some informal discussion about school and all of the sudden I was struck by irrational panic that I was going to fail because of my attitude towards theory. Why? Because there are people who seem to live and die by philosophy and theory, and they can be intimidating. So my contentment bubble burst, and I started to worry that I’m not working hard enough.

But if I am honest with myself and where I want to end up, I think I’m finally starting to feel okay with not being an academic. I want to be a good friend, a good family member, and enjoy intelligent conversation, and I don’t have to be well-versed in theory to do those things. I do need to be well-versed in theory to pass comps and write my thesis, but those are very temporary activities.

Maybe I’m not making sense. I find that some days I feel like I’m unstoppable, and other days I feel like failure is my destiny. Ever have days like those?

I’m off to book club now, which I hope is a good opportunity to bond with smart women I can soon call my friends…

3 thoughts on “Topsy-Turvy Day

  1. when i started my masters program i was overwhelmed by the “science” of it all – somehow it made me go through a faith questioning period. i too felt like a failure when it came to discussing big theoretical concepts – not concrete enough – which was funny since i felt like my beliefs were not concrete enough to even count as theory. anyway – i felt all confused. you will be fine. i like your point that you only need to get it enough to pass comps and that’s only temporary.p.s. have you read “seeking adam” – i think is the title. soooo good. about a woman who also has to cope with the intimidation factor of grad school.

  2. I haven’t read it, and I tried to find it on Amazon, and it wasn’t there…Thanks for the reassurance. I don’t know why I’m so freaked out by it all. Must just be my nature.

Leave a Reply