People told me that the hardest part about grad school would be getting used to being ‘average.’
They were wrong.
The hardest part about grad school is getting used to being BELOW average. Or at least, feeling below average.
Think about it. People in grad school, at least in non-professional programs, are generally used to getting good grades and being dorky overachievers that are genuinely interested in what they’re studying. Throw them all together, and they’re suddenly ‘normal.’ These are the kids that got made fun of for studying in high school (or hell, undergrad). Now we’re suddenly ‘normal.’ Isn’t that what we wanted? Errr…. sure.
Now, I haven’t discussed this much with my fellow grad students, in SNRE or in Anthro. Maybe this is just one of those beat-you-down-so-we-can-build-you-back-up sort of things. I’m getting grades I don’t like* right now to teach me to work my butt off, and then perhaps I’ll succeed later.
Or perhaps my grades in undergrad were so severely inflated that I can’t even cut it at the SAME DARNED INSTITUTION as a grad student! Eeeek!
I feel like maybe I never really learned how to read or write. Or how to think. Everyone seems so very much more intelligent than I am, able to formulate thoughtful questions and arguments, and very much able to shoot mine down (this is in reference mostly to Anthro. We don’t argue much in SNRE). I had a note on my essay the other day asking me to please visit the Writing Help Center. Oh, awesome.
I’m a remedial grad student.
After one conversation with a fellow anthrogeek, and struggling through the MathCAD labs with a couple of fellow SNREds, I felt a tad better. I guess I can stop lamenting that I don’t have as much time as I want to focus on school (like I lamented in undergrad– what with work and work and bikes and work — and bikes).
I’m here to learn. I’m here because I want to learn.** Punto, fin.
I just hope I learn quickly, because my ego can’t take much more of this B(elow)-average nonsense!
*People tease me that I’m just not used to getting (ahem) ‘grades I don’t like.’ But I should point out that I have to keep a B+ average to stay in my Ph.D. program, and a B average to stay in the MS program. As an undergrad, I would have laughed my ass off. Considering the highest grade I’ve gotten so far is a B+, I’m not laughing so much right now.
**For some people this is a change from their attitudes as undergrads. I majored in three freaking unemployable fields as an undergrad. You think I was doing that for a job? No. I’ve always been here to learn. I’m just doing it the hard way now….