Thanks for all of the nice comments you guys left on my post last night. Thanks to your comments, I’ve learned two things:
- I have a lot of well educated blog readers. Seriously, I was amazed at how many of you guys have pursued PhDs, are professors, etc… We’re definitely not the average American demographic. I guess that could make me feel even more intimidated, but I’m going to try to think positively about it – you guys stuck around even though I’m just a 22 year old starting grad school, so I must have something intelligent to say. Or at the very least, something entertaining to say. I’ll take that.
- My woes seem to be pretty common. I think the better question now is if anyone hasn’t experienced impostor syndrome.
But I also feel better after attending class and reading more papers. My Monday class is a three hour discussion of multiple related papers, and it actually went really well. Our professor guided us through the discussion without giving away the answers, but still explained parts that we were confused about instead of letting us totally flounder – aka, he did an excellent job. I realized I understood a lot more than I gave myself credit for, and even more light bulbs went on during the discussion.
Then I read even more papers for my class tomorrow (seeing a theme here?). At first I felt doomed, again. But then tonight I was in a little study group with some of the other students, and:
- Everyone seemed just as confused and lost as me. And
- I actually got to explain a concept to a couple people! A concept that seemed simple to me (gel electrophoresis of DNA segments) only because that’s basically what I spent the last three years doing, not to mention teaching. That really helped make it clear that we all come from such different backgrounds, that sometimes you’re going to feel completely in the dark, but other times you’ll actually know what the heck you’re talking about.
I’m still tired, but I feel slightly less doomed. I think I’m partially writing this post so I can come back and read it when I’m feeling completely idiotic again.
…Like tomorrow when I try to fix my Python code. *gulp*