Re-posted from my other blog:
Do you ever wonder if your efforts are worth it? Or question why you should keep trying so hard for something that continually just seems out of your reach?
I do. Back in 2008 when I finished my Master’s degree, I just wanted to see how far I could take this academic thing. Was I smart enough, disciplined enough to take on the PhD? Throughout life I have really struggled with what I call “stick to it ness.” The ability to start a project and see it through to its conclusion. In marathon running that shows because for the longest time I would run races on the bare minimum. 20 miler before a marathon? HA! I was lucky if I did a 16 miler. And yet somehow I always managed to finish the race (albeit not feeling so hot).
So I registered and started this PhD thing. 7 years later and I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. And most days I am not convinced I care or it’s worth it. I constantly ask myself if this is a battle worth fighting for, or is it time to call for a retreat?
There is no guarantee that I will find a job as a professor. There is no guarantee that it will lead to some unknown ‘better’ job (what does better even mean anyways)? Most people think it’s snobbish and that you’re full of it and half the time potential employers call you ‘overqualified.’
In other words, what the hell am I doing to myself?! Why have I caused so much stress, taken on so much student debt, and put my life on hold for something that may or may not even provide me with some sort of tangible result?
Do you remember the movie Rocky. If you haven’t seen it before, I would highly recommend that you watch it. Even if someone hasn’t seen it, they know the gist of the movie. Poor man from Philly becomes an underdog and fights Apollo Creed. But Rocky is so much more than that.
Rocky thought he was a loser. Like me, he wasn’t particularly great at finishing the things he started. He had a low self-esteem and really didn’t see that he had the potential to make an important contribution to the world. But of course, then there was that fight with Apollo Creed.
So, like Rocky, I keep getting back up before they count to 10. I keep coming back despite the odds because whether my PhD grants me all my wishes or not, is irrelevant. It’s about the person I am inside and the belief that I can be better and stronger mentally and emotionally than I was the day before.
Finishing my PhD will show me that I CAN be and DO whatever I want in this life. There may be an enormous struggle, and I might fail a number of times, but these three little letters won’t be taken away from me.
In the end, I might be beaten up, bloodied, and unable to see out of one eye, but I will have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I need to stop underestimating myself.
So, I keep fighting-ding round two!