Saturday, 4 May 2013

What it's like to hate your PhD...

Here is a ‘diary entry’, from maybe 2011, scribbled on a loose page from a notebook. (I used to do that sometimes; when I had something to get off my chest, rip a page out of a notebook and write on it. I can never throw away any old notebooks; who knows what secrets – memories of hot dates, etc – there might be in there.)

Anyway, I found this one a few weeks ago, and I am writing it here, because it is a perfect example of how it feels to REALLY hate your PhD:

Friday, 18th October

Met up with my friend A. today. I was waiting for her outside the restaurant; suddenly, there she was, this beautiful woman coming towards me, in red lipstick and red scarf. She liked my furry coat (new), she asked if she could try it on. She was so happy to see me. I told her that I’m really happy that she might be coming to the conference; that the earrings I was wearing were borrowed from my little sister; and that I’m glad to hear all about her encounters with messieurs X and Y… [some more on the encounters here, which I shan’t paraphrase.]

A. looked amazing: so beautiful, you could not be more so. I stared and stared at her. I thought: here, in front of me, is someone who could be a character in a novel. Not me, not this miserable, sad little person sitting opposite her, who already cried about three times today, who is trying to get her teeth into this PhD somehow and cannot; not this loser, but precisely this girl called A., so beautiful, so ‘together’; that’s an interesting person, not me.

I’m going to go work for 25 minutes now. <3

Ps (later: ) I’m sick of bursting into tears every time the smallest little thing pisses me off (lost keys, librarian telling me I have too many books on order, and so on…) I’m sick of my eyes being eternally tired from crying. I’m sick of worrying and panicking, and telling myself that I’m ‘too thick to be doing a PhD’. I’m sick of being friends with E. and A, while I’m doing a PhD at the same time; I want to be the sort of Friend who is good at something she does, and who is happy with her little ‘something’, and not this ‘saddest in the group’, the stupidest, always the most backward. I’m sick of thinking that I don’t know anything and I can’t do anything right (because I DO know stuff, and I can do many things, just none of them remotely helpful to this PhD.) I’m sick of going to meetings for the sole purpose of discussing how rubbish my ideas are. I’m sick of worrying that I’m stuck doing this PhD, because if I quit it, I’m hardly likely, in this current ‘economic situation’, to find myself anything much nicer to do.

I’m sick of all this stuff, but that’s precisely why I’m still here…

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