I’m taking some time from my paper to write this. I’m a little over halfway done with the first draft, but I have a lot more to do, of course. Writing papers are always a strong act of will on my part. It always seems to be that I have to convince myself that, I am, in fact, smart enough to do this damn paper, and that, yes, I actually have knowledge in this brain of mine.
People have always told me that I’m smart. I’d get decent grades in most things, but some things were a real struggle. I went to college and did fairly well, but not well enough for any awards or accolades. (Although, sometimes I wish that the effort I put in to some classes was given some credit.) Maybe it was the major I picked (biochemistry), or my procrastination, or because I had a difficult time on tests, or…well, I don’t know…And maybe there was a little jealousy, too, since a lot of the classes I was in had the super-intelligent students who never seemed to need to study all that hard.
It just never felt to me that I was quite good enough to be there, no matter what anyone told me. It’s not that people weren’t encouraging and supportive, it’s just the way I felt. No one ever told me directly that I was a crappy student, or stupid, or any of the things that go through my head. But grades aren’t forgiving, and standardized testing doesn’t really gauge where you are in the learning process. Never mind health and emotional issues (the first half of my senior year of undergrad was, to put it mildly, rough).
Then there’s being in the corporate world. In my 14.5 years (dude!) of working in the emotional cesspool that is office politics and hiring practices, I’ve learned that my intelligence is not really a factor. You learn not to cause trouble, you learn to watch your back, and you learn that being smart and reliable is not how you get promoted or how you get to do more interesting work. If you are somehow having issues outside of work, and explain these things to those in charge, they just don’t care. You are a warm body that does things, and co-workers are rarely real friends. You are reduced to a thing that makes money, not a person.
So, now that I’m back in school, I need to purge this kind of thinking from my system. I keep telling myself that they wouldn’t have admitted me if they didn’t think I could hack it. They did recognize my intelligence and my calling. They recognized that I wanted to learn. And, to be honest, there’s a part of me that knows she’s smart, otherwise, I never would have applied in the first place.
What I’m finding weird is that it’s taking a lot of work to convince the rest of my brain of that.
But there’s time, and there’s this paper, which I now need to get back to…