3rd year woes: notes from the trenches

Once again it's late at night - after good intentions of working through the evening, I frittered away the after 8PM hours doing nothing worthwhile. Reading hip psychology blogs is about as close as I got to doing actual work. Oh well. I wrote for almost seven hours today. The time is closing in. I have to turn in my paper either tomorrow or wednesday. I have no choice. I'm terrified. I think that I could keep working like this almost indefinitely. But to be judged. I have to be judged in order to move on. This is the part of graduate school I hate the most. It's called the defense - but unfortunately, I think that I'm awful at defending myself. Usually when someone asks me anything I get tripped up on myself and forget things. It's like in Amelie, when she wishes that there were someone hiding under the sidewalk whispering you smart remarks. I'm merely content to just watch and listen. I'm learning, do I have to prove it? Verbally? I really hate feeling like I've put so much into this project and that it could go either way - I could walk into that room and my committee say, you know this is a great and innovative idea, we're excited to see what you can do with it. Or - more likely they will say, your paper lacks cohesion, we're not really sure what you're getting at, what's the point of all of this? What did so and so mean when they were talking about temporal fine structure of the signal and how it affects fundamental frequency? I mean, I was writing about it so I should know right? But I just know I'm going to freeze, to choke - like I do when it's time to sink the 8 ball in pool. I'm going to have to get over this before I can go on. The other day I was sitting in on a job talk of a woman who is a candidate for our department. I found myself thinking, "there's no way I'm going to be able to do this in two years." Granted, hopefully I won't be, because I'll get a post-doc and prolong the agony. I was so utterly frustrated today. I really wish that I could feel some relief after I turn the stupid thing in, but even after that, I have to give an hour long talk on it in a week, and then the dreaded defense the following week. And then I will have a drink in celebration. No matter what. Even if I don't pass, I'm just going to celebrate having gotten through it! But until then, I will continue to eat nutella straight from the jar, snarl at my husband and pry myself out of bed with a crowbar every morning. Perseverance, people!

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