Monday, February 28, 2011

Imposter Syndrome

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! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Digital Media Just Amplifies Stupid

Now, I know what you're thinking, dear readers. You're thinking Freakin' A, she is going to go off on some rant about texting/twitter/facebook/email/myspace/whatthefreakever with an on/off switch, just like 80 bajillion other people have already. And readers, you would be correct.

Don't get me wrong. I see the advantages to all of this digital media. I see the upsides to always being able to reach the people we feel like we need to reach. I like the fact that that one time I got a flat tire driving home from school at 10 at night, I was able to call people to come rescue my butt, because I have no freakin clue how to change a tire (nor, as it turned out, the equipment to do so with me in the car). And I'm just as much of a facebook whore as the next person (well, maybe not. I'm fully clothed in all of my pictures). And I don't know how to live without my smartphone anymore. However, (and that is a big, fat, ginormous however) I think that like 85% of the time, they're more trouble than they're worth. Why, you ask? Because they make it all too easy to amplify our stupid. I had a fb friend yesterday post a status (at 1 in the morning) saying "talk me out of sending this text." Judging by the status update s/he had posted earlier, I was 95% sure who s/he was planning to text and 95% sure what the gist of it was and I was 100% sure the recipient would not be thrilled to get it. Thankfully s/he didn't send it, but I was just like, This is exactly why our generation sucks. Because we have a practically unlimited ability to broadcast our stupidity. It doesn't matter that it's 1 AM, I can text this person because I can see by their facebook that they're still up, even though this text message is in NO ONE'S best interest. 

Anyway, long rant short, put the phones down. Step away from the computer. If it's past midnight, don't say it. Just wait until morning. Much better decisions are made in the light of day.

And yeah, that MIGHT sound like something my parents have told me. Maybe they're not completely wrong all of the time. Maybe.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dreams DO come true

Many of you (and by "many of you," I mean the 2 people who actually read this blog) know that I've been applying to graduate school in psychology. You also know that this is my second try at applying to graduate school because last year I was a big fat failure and got rejected across the board (no interviews, no waitlisting, no nothing). Yesterday was a good day for me. I got accepted into a program that is 2,536 miles from my current home, in a place with an annual (ANNUAL!) average of 8 (EIGHT!) days above 90 degrees. 

A picture of a snow day at this place.
(Stolen from Google Images) 
(Also, for some reason, when I googled "[this place] snow," I got a very disturbing picture of a tattooed and naked old man, with his wrinkly naughty bits just out there for the world to see)

Regardless of the cold, it's a pretty sweet program where they're doing some pretty hot science. And right now they're my only acceptance, so they're looking mighty fine to me. It was really exciting to get that acceptance, but it didn't/still doesn't feel real. I've spent so much time preparing myself for the worst that allowing myself to believe the best is...difficult.

But The Good News Doesn't End There

Last night, as I was watching "You Again" with my mother (not very good, by the way), my phone rang. Being someone who NEVER gets phone calls, let alone phone calls from a long-distance area code, I answered the phone, expecting a solicitor or a wrong number. Nope! It was ANOTHER professor calling me to say she was interested and invite me out to their interview weekend.  

A picture of this place.
(Also stolen from Google Images)

So, a week from tomorrow I will be flying out there and observing a morality seminar taught by the person I want to work with, and then spending Friday at the "department dog and pony show" (her words, not mine), interviewing, eating with the graduate students, touring, and partying with the graduate students. Very exciting... and slightly terrifying. You know what they say about being careful what you wish for. I'm already suffering from impostor syndrome, I can only imagine it gets worse from here on out. 

In the mean time, I'm still waiting to hear from the first school to interview me, because they have yet to send out any decisions. This is the school that my family and friends are rooting for because it is geographically desirable. 

 Can you blame them?
(Also stolen from Google Images)
(Also worth noting-when I googled [this place], a lot of pictures of pretty girls in scarlet and gold bikinis popped up. Somehow I see the culture here as very reminiscent of home)

My parents say I need to send them an email and ask what's up, but I am nervous about seeming pushy and annoying.

I'm also waiting to hear from the other school who put me on their "short list." I'm less hopeful for this school because it's one of the most competitive programs that I applied to (it's one of 4 top-20 programs that I applied to and 2 of them have already rejected me and I'm expecting a rejection from the other), plus I haven't heard from them in weeks, even though I sent a brilliant research idea to the professor I wanted to work with. Cest la vie. 

 This place is beautiful, even if they don't want me.
(Also stolen).

Sorry about the annoying font colors. Instead of saying the names of each of these places (because I want to maintain some degree of anonymity and discretion), I used their school colors as their fonts.

Anywhoodle, wish me luck. I will be sure to let you know how it goes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's just a Monday

"Valentine's Day is a conspiracy made up by the card companies and the flower companies and the chocolate companies... Wait, not the chocolate companies. They're doing God's work."--Will and Grace

I've never really "gotten" Valentine's Day. And I say that as a die-hard romantic. I love sappy movies. I read bad chick lit about people who suck at relationships finally figuring it out and falling in love in some corny, wouldn't happen in a million years in real life, kinda way. And I've had a Valentine before, and he did sweet things for me both years that we were together. I bragged about how cute they were to my friends, and I was very grateful. And I know that he did them because he really did love me, but at the same time, he did them because it was Valentine's day. No other time did he put a rose and a balloon on my car and "kiss" the ground I walk on (there was a trail of Hershey's kisses from my door to my car. Very thoughtful), no other time did he send me flowers and truffles to work. And they were lovely, really. But at least partially, they were tainted with obligation. And I've never liked relationships that come with obligation. I've never liked someone telling me how or when I have to show someone I love them. For me, love is making soup when you're sick. Love is coming to your sporting event/play/concert/gallery opening/poetry reading/work function/graduation/whatever. Love is a little note left on your windshield or bathroom mirror. Love is a hug for no reason. Love is driving for 2 hours when your best friend breaks up with her boyfriend or has a scary dr's appointment. Love is dancing in the driveway. I just don't get spending 4x the value on flowers that will die, eating a prie fixe menu in an over crowded restaurant and then putting on slutty lingerie with little hearts on it just because it's some "special" day in February.

Perhaps I am being overly-critical. I mean, it is important to remember to appreciate the people that we love (all the people we love, not just our romantic partners), and sometimes, amid the bills and the rush hour traffic and the laundry and the drive-thrus we forget to appreciate them. Maybe we need to schedule a date to say, "Yes, I do still love you, and yes, you still are the most important person to me, and yes, I can't imagine what life would be like without you, so please don't leave me because I am an unappreciative idiot who takes you for granted."

That being said, I'd rather get flowers and chocolates any other day of the year.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Words left unsaid

Hello dear readers,

This is my new blog. I always figured I'd wait to start a blog like this until I was married and/or had babies... because that's what everyone else does. But Pants (also, I will be giving everyone code names to protect the innocent) convinced me to start one so she could read it, so... here goes.

I think a lot of times, we have things that we need to say that we just can't phrase in a way we want to say them. We have all of these emotions or grievances or gratitude that we just can't express. More often than I like to admit, I've found myself saying "there are no words." This blog is an attempt to find the words. And maybe the people they're meant for will read them, and maybe they won't. Maybe taking the time to write them out will give me the courage to speak them aloud. Maybe it'll just be for me. More likely, I will be too chicken to post anything of actual value and you will all hear about the minutiae of my life spun in a way to make me look as good as possible, because after all, this is my own little universe and I have that ability.