As I was packing up my bag for class this morning, I had this huge revelation.

Here it is:

I've been acting, believing, feeling, and living as if I had already failed at this dissertation.

As if I had already failed.


Which is, of course, completely mental. I haven't finished it or submitted it or even really gotten much feedback, so how could it be a failure? It was so strange, I was just putting my stuff in my bag and it just hit me -- that I need to stop believing that the time it has taken me or the revisions that are required of me or the work I have yet to do is a sign of failure. No wonder I've been feeling beaten down and discouraged. No wonder I've struggled to get myself to work on it. I've been seeing the whole thing as a fait accompli. (Which I just looked up for the spelling: "a thing that has been decided so that those affected by it have no option but to accept." I SO was not giving myself other options than failure.) I wonder if I did it because I thought subconsciously that by assuming I was already a failure, then I was emotionally and mentally protected if it turns out I do indeed fail at it. Regardless, it seems pretty damned dumb to shoot myself in the foot like that before I've even had a chance to join the race. Sheesh.

A good thing to realize, I think, though.


p.s. Joyful day for us blue state feminists!!

p.s.s. Speaking of which, I love it when my assumptions are overthrown by my students. One of my meathead football-type dudes came to class last week in a bright pink tee-shirt that said on the front "This is what a feminist looks like." Brilliant.


At 4:27 PM RageyOne said...

Sometimes it takes a wake-up call for us to realize that things are not all that bad. Glad you had yours.

Luv the feminist football player!

At 8:46 AM Scrivener said...

Have you considered, between this post and "why why why," the extent to which your fear is not so much failure but success?

At 10:47 AM suz said...

Ditto Scrivener -- at least that is my own pattern. I throw a wrench in the motor just when I am reaching full speed. Practicing success should be an exercise for me daily but I skip it --just like situps!

Stew: great epiphany!

At 1:54 PM avocadoinparadise said...

In my grad program, everyone who got to the point of defending their dissertation in front of their committee passed. There was no real question. A few people who really knew nothing & answered none of the questions well, passed. I think most grad programs are like this. They want their students to succeed. So please try to stop worrying so much!

At 12:58 AM Ms.PhD said...

You can do it! Sheesh, you got a faculty position! Put yourself in my shoes: I defended my dissertation 4 years ago, but no faculty job in sight.

My point is: it could be a lot worse.

So this is just the icing, finishing up the dissertation. I hope you had a good time working on it, fears of failure and success notwithstanding. I enjoyed writing mine since it was the only time I really was allowed, and gave myself permission, to drop everything else and THINK. Perhaps on some level you're afraid to let it go since you've actually enjoyed it? (sorry if this is totally wrong, I just started reading your blog and haven't read back further yet).

btw, I LOVE your student in the pink tee-shirt. We need more guys like that, and more blue states.


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