I have pretty much spent every night that I don’t have class and every single Saturday and Sunday for about the past two months preparing for and writing my dissertation prospectus. It is disgusting to me at this point how little I really have to show for all of that time and effort. So much of it was spent collecting literature and organizing my thoughts…and not actually writing. I am sure that it wasn’t time wasted; however, it feels like I should have more of a complete product than I actually have. I feel like I should be much further ahead with the output (writing) than I am now. I’ve included pictures of the current state of my office to help portray my life at this particular moment in time. Hopefully, if you have been following the blog for a while you will know that I am usually a fairly organized and neat person.
I am pretty sure that I am to the point where people are going to stop popping in my office to visit or stop asking how my day/weekend was for fear that I might actually answer them or for fear that they may incur bodily harm from tripping over a stack of paper on my floor. To corroborate this notion let me tell you about something that happened last week. I had a total come apart last week complete with crocodile tears (while at my full-time job) about the fact that I probably was not going to meet a deadline for my writing that I had set for myself. It was TOTALLY EMBARASSING. I was crying so uncontrollably that I had to shut my door because there was no way to regain my composure at that point. Of course the whole time the meltdown was happening I was feeling even more guilty and ashamed for not being able to “handle” the situation. I couldn’t help but think, “Ok, here I am with two degrees in administration, yet this is how I choose to react to a stressful situation. GREAT! (cue sarcasm).” I was crying so hard that the student assistants who work in our suite were ready to tear down the door to make sure I was ok. Again, GREAT! (cue an even heavier sarcastic tone). Seriously, why I am making this process so hard on myself? Or, am I even doing that? Is this what getting a Ph.D. is supposed to feel like?
I am exhausted. I know I have said that before on the blog. I mean it now and I meant it then too. I realized last week that I will have spent longer working on my Ph.D than I did on my entire bachelor’s degree. I finished my undergraduate work in three years (9 full continuous semesters). I have already had 9 full non-stop semesters in my doctoral program and have approximately 2 or 3 more to go if I am lucky. It could be even longer than that if I can’t get my writing together. I feel like a broken record by saying this; but I am going to say it anyway. I am working full-time (8-5), taking three classes, and trying to write the prospectus for my dissertation. I guess I should be tired but I don’t feel like I should. I feel like I am drowning and should instead be able to keep all of the balls I am juggling in the air. I feel like I should be able to keep up with the pace of this life that I have CHOSEN!
Currently, I feel completely stressed, out of shape, pre-maturely aged, unkempt, disorganized, worried, nauseous, and depleted. I have even had some shortness of breath issues here lately. Gosh, Abby, get a grip. I am way too stubborn to give up. I know deep down inside that I will eventually finish this degree. But, geez-Louise and H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks this has been one hellacious obstacle to overcome. Don’t worry folks I blog to vent. I promise I am not on the verge of “jumping.” I am just FRUSTRATED as all get out. Worst of all, I am frustrated and disappointed in myself. There is no one to blame for my lack of progress but me.
I looked around my office during my total and complete breakdown and was part disgusted and part amused by the fact that I have allowed myself to be so visibly unhinged. What you are seeing is my real office at my real full-time, grown-up person, university job. Good grief, what is wrong with me?
My colleagues have all been so sweet and supportive (although I feel confident that deep down they are wondering what in the world is wrong with me). I wish I could just get a grip. I am trying. I’ve put on my big girl pants and continued pushing ahead despite the fact that my brain and spirit are fighting as every single word or thought is typed.
Well, I guess that pretty much sums it up. That is where I am at this particular moment. I know that God gives us all obstacles to overcome and that He often reminds us that we are not the ones in ultimate control over our lives. I chose this path for my life and must live with the consequences and trials that come with it. I understand that there are so many more difficult problems to face in the world than the one I am experiencing. I am so fortunate in the grand scheme of things. Despite my truly Debbie Downer perspective I have not forgotten that I have a husband, family and friends (and faithful blog readers) who love, encourage, and support me. I know I wouldn’t have even made it this far without them (you). I also know that I will be so proud when this ordeal is over and that I will probably look back on these times and laugh. I am just not there yet.