Point of Entry

Reflections on my first week

Starting your PhD is an elite honor that so many people don’t have or don’t make it to. It’s also a point of privilege and feels like a burden to do something with, that the learning needs to benefit people instead of fulfilling your own interest.

The sheer amount of work you get assigned is exhilarating and exciting; someone is asking you to read things and learn things like it is your job. But you also fear the ability to not get everything done, to let people down and to know that there is knowledge out there you can’t read or never know. I’m very black and white on this. I need to know everything about a subject or its not worth trying.

Full time grad school is turning out to be the time of my life. No commitments but to talk to other people about cool shit and maybe work 20 hours a week at an actual office. So much time to socialize and act a fool with each other. But every moment you are together, it is time nagging at you from doing more that you can as an emerging scholar. So the socializing becomes a burden and a curse.* But every party or night out you are not invited to is a world of self-doubt.

It’s finding current faculty that are so brilliant and cool that you want to literally reach inside their brain and become them, but also fear them. They may let you down, may not have time for you or your ideas, or even worse, may not like you.

It’s knowing how much you have to learn and excited to learn, even if you thought your writing was good before, academic writing is a game-changer and you can’t wait to start getting better, to write as much as you can to get your “early mistakes” out of the way, but it’s also the fear that when you sit down every every word must be perfect or you are a loser.

It’s finding some of the most wonderful, funny people but also finding people that don’t function on the same plane as you, and wondering how they function at all. It’s navigating a class, a life, a meeting where they seem to be time terrorists and suck up all the space, but then also reminding yourself that it is on you to advocate for yourself, to confront the person on it, but living with the fear that YOU are that person for someone else.

*Let me be clear, don’t stop inviting me to socialize.

And what’s it all for? So you can move to the South Pole for part time work.


uchicago is currently hiring for a *part-time* position that requires you to relocate to the south pole pic.twitter.com/9h71yzP374

August 31, 2018

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What is this? A semi-regular newsletter about life in graduate school.

All content reflects my individual views and is not associated with any university, department, faculty, or students. Names and situations mentioned have been changed.