I met with my advisor a few weeks ago, and he helped me create a clear cut to-do list for the next four weeks: finalize my committee, fill out a few forms, get IRB approval, and write my initial proposal. I planned on starting this last week. So far I've only finalized my committee. I have plenty of time on my hands, but the thought of actually starting on this giant project freaks. me. out. Here's why:
- I am a terrible decision maker. I'm wishy-washy. I have so many teaching interests, that I don't even know how to begin to narrow them down and pick just one.
- I fear feeling stupid. The most terrifying (and the most beneficial) comment I've ever heard a professor utter is, "What are you adding to the overall conversation on this issue?" This terrifies me; I'm only 25, I've only been teaching for three years---what do I have to add to any intellectual conversation? I feel like I haven't been around long enough to add to anything. I want to add something crazy insightful to my field--so insightful that someone will want to publish it. But I fear falling short of this goal. I fear that I won't add anything to my field because I'm simply not intelligent or critical enough. A teacher and PhD student I know wrote in a post on GradHacker, "Eventually, I will run out of stupid ideas and be left with something that will work" (Zellner). I can only hope for this.
- This is going to sound crazy, but hear me out: I fear that our adoption will go through while I'm working on my thesis. There is nothing that I want more than to become a mom, but part of me fears that if this happens while I'm working on my thesis that I'll never finish. I've come so far in my program, and I really want to finish and move on to the next step, but I've wanted to be a mom for so long that I also fear (I'm not sure that's the right word to convey what I really feel...) I will want to just quit my job and spend all my time being a mom. I want to be the world's best mom AND I want to be the best in my field. Can I do both? I'm not sure....