Psychologists have identified this thing where people (usually capable ones) get this feeling like they’re fooling everyone else into thinking they’re actually capable of what they’re doing, even though they don’t actually think they are. They live in constant fear that someone will discover their “secret” and expose them for the “fraud” that they are. If I have learned anything from this weekend it’s that I definitely feel that way. Sure, I can talk about a dozen different articles, and I can relate everything back to something else, but that doesn’t mean that I actually feel like I know enough of anything to be… considered competent. And everyone is always telling me how much it stands out that I have conference presentations and that I’ve read these articles and that I seem to understand stuff and can talk about things intelligently, but I dunno, I don’t feel that way. I feel like words just sort of spill out of my mouth and I don’t really know what I’m saying. I mean, in the seminar I sat in on, we were discussing tragic and taboo tradeoffs (sacrificing one moral value for another and sacrificing a moral value for a monetary or other secular incentive, respectively) and how in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s been shown that both sides would be willing to make sacrifices, if the other one would, too, and all that was running through my head was the words to a Taylor Swift song (because in my mind, it said it in a much simpler way than the GRE vocab that everyone was using): And I would lay my armor down/if you say you would rather love than fight. It’s not necessarily that they want to keep fighting, or that they hate each other as much as it seems. I think both sides want peace. I think it’s exhausting to have that much hate and fear and violence and extremism in your beliefs all of the time; but I also think that both sides will be damned if they’re the first ones to call truce. And they sure as hell won’t go without sacrifices from the other side. And I know that grad students and professors are supposed to use big words and have these huge existential conversations about stuff, but it’s just so much simpler to quote Taylor Swift. And I feel like until I’m more inclined to use big words and have huge existential conversations instead of quoting Taylor Swift, I have no business trying to be someone who claims to know their stuff. But I love this. I had a great time in that seminar. I want to go again next week. Here’s to hoping they don’t figure out my secret.
P.S. They took us to this great restaurant that had great pear cider. Seriously delicious. Like new drink of choice delicious, even though it was $6.50 for a pint on tap. ON TAP!