Hello sunshines! I hope you are all enjoying summer and taking in some much needed vitamin D! I know I sure am any chance I get!
First of all, can someone please tell me where the month of June went? I don’t know about you all but it flew by for me and honestly I’m not complaining because July means it finally my White Coat Ceremony month! (I’m not counting down the minutes or anything…)
With just a little less than two and half weeks left of my didactic portion of my doctorate I should be bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Instead I am feeling burnt out and utterly exhausted.
I may be coming to the finish line, but I can not lie or sugar coat the way I am feeling. Not only would I be insulting myself by lying, but also my classmates whom are on this journey with me, as well as all the graduate students out there.
As a grad student especially one in a doctorate program we feel as if we should always be on this high of gratefulness. That we should feel lucky and privileged to be in such an academic minority. But we are all fully aware we are being afforded an incredible opportunity to enhance our educational career. We are aware we are making loved one proud. There is no disregard to that.
But god damn it, were exhausted!
I don’t want it to seem as if I’m discounting everything it took to get here, we are fully aware of this. (probably more than we express outwardly)
For the past 5 years I have been going non-stop. I was the crazy determined student who decided to do their undergraduate degree in 3 years and immediately jump right into graduate school. And for the past 2 years I have been running from one thing to the next with one week breaks here and there between fall, spring and summer semesters. I mean who wouldn’t be tired by this point?
One thing I think people don’t realize about grad students is the constant pressure. The pressure to succeed. The pressure to not only be a successful student but a competent clinician. The pressure to get that “A” even though subconsciously you know grades don’t matter. The pressure of constantly keeping track of every aspect of your life, trying to find a balance between school and a social life.
As a grad student everyone tells you, you need to let go of the need to be “perfect”. Yet we’re still expected to meet ridiculous expectations imposed by our professors. This has to be THE most frustrating and exhausting part of being a grad student!
We work our butts off endlessly just to keep pushing forward. You continually try to check a box in your to-do list yet the list never seems to end.
Running from one thing to the next, there’s never a chance to breathe. Yet the world has this impression that grad school is a place full of happiness. Am I grateful to be here? Yes. Am I glad I made the career path decision to get my doctorate? Yes. Am I exhausted and ready to be done? Yes. And you know what that’s totally okay!
We have worked so incredibly hard to get where we are today, and yes I may only have two and half weeks to go but jeeze oh man I’m tired!
Now that does not mean I am going to give up. No, I’m going to keep pushing forward with every ounce of energy left in me and cross that finish line with my damn white coat! No matter how hard it gets I’m still going to make it, but I’m not going to be mad at myself for acknowledging that I’m burnt out!
I guess my main point in all this ranting is this:
Grad school is hard – it’s difficult and challenging, pushing you outside your comfort zone in more ways you thought possible. We are drained, stressed and overwhelmed. This is okay and it does not define our identity either. We just want others to know, “Hey, I’m busting my ass over here and yes I’m tired doing so!” We are trying so hard to balance everything from school, ourselves and our relationships with you all! Sometimes we just want to be looked at as not just the grad student who should be studious and gratefully happy, but as the true person we are. Because we are human too!
I don’t want anyone to think I am not happy as a grad student, I am happy! But these feelings can exist together!
To all my fellow grad students – you can feel tired and burnt out, it’s okay! You are allowed to make a mistake. You are allowed to fail. You are allowed to feel beaten down. None of this makes you less of a student, it just means you’re human!
We are way more than just a grad student! So, just take deep breath and remember all that you are as a person! I guarantee you’re doing a whole lot better than you think you are. I’m right there with you and I’m proud of all my fellow grad students out there!
Now lets go kick some butt!
I’m going to go listen to my own advice for once and crush these last two and half weeks til I can strut out of Slippery Rock in my fancy White Coat!