I feel restless as I wait for the result of my PhD application, which will be released in March. On the one hand, I am not confident that my proposal, qualifications and references are good enough. On the other hand, I’m not prepared to take no for an answer — I must secure a place in the program because this research is all I want to do. Given I don’t see any prospect of me moving to Australia anytime soon, this research is the only thing that is going to give me a sense of purpose while I still live in this godforsaken city (I applied to a local university because tuition fees are currently waived for local students, which could make it even more competitive than before). I’m tired of doing someone else’s research. I’ve worked with different professors over these years but none of them seemed able to offer me any career guidance and it’s not because I didn’t make known to them my intention to pursue a research career. I’ve never co-written a paper with any of them, merely existing and acknowledged in footnotes. That does really say something about my (lack of) abilities, doesn’t it? The only one who actively encouraged me to do a research degree, I failed him when I withdrew from the program due to my depression and moment of autism awakening, which he couldn’t understand.
I know March will be here in no time but at the moment, I feel like a prisoner waiting for the death sentence. And I know that if I do succeed in my application, I would be looking back at this post and laugh at my own silliness. That’s the thing with hindsight. It changes the way you felt about something previously. This is why this blog exists — to document my struggles and efforts when the future outcome is yet unknown. It serves me no purpose to write about how I overcame my fears and challenges when and after my dream comes true. I want to write about my fears and struggles as I am going through them right now, without the influence of hindsight. I want to remember that feeling of hopeless and despair so as to remind myself to always be kind, compassionate and sensitive. Success stories are nice but rather than listening to someone talk about how they overcame obstacles and challenges to achieve success (and fame), I rather hear about what keeps ordinary people moving on and waking up, day to day, despite obstacles and challenges even when the outcome is unknown because these are the people I relate to. Fortunately, there is no lack of inspiration from the people I follow on WP.
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The Great Unknown – Mighty Oaks
I know we’ll work it out but I’m terrified that I will let you down
Will I be good enough?
Will I do things the right way?
Will I spend my days afraid?
The great unknown, we both hardly know what’s on the way