When you ask a child who they want to be, their ideas normally change from year to year, even week to week. As someone who has no children and rarely ever encounters with them, I don’t know if that’s cliche or truth. Or to what extent it is the truth. The past month or so has had me wondering whether that part of us ever really goes away or just narrows down into choices within your specialism instead. I’ve been caught up researching and writing PhD applications lately (or putting them off) and it has gotten to the point that self doubt is my worst enemy. That and application forms, which, I’m beginning to think, were invented to curb rather than encourage you.
Then you wonder why you’re putting off applications for something you love to do. Something you’ve wanted to do since you first wrote a line of poetry that wasn’t a school essay or homework (transgression right there). The truth is, the weight of it is terrifying. The weight of seeking validation from academics, believing in myself, my idea, and wanting to be sure that I’ll come out the other end a better, stronger, intellectual individual and a researcher. And it is true that I will continue researching and writing my novel idea if I don’t get in to do a PhD, but I know that the fact that I will lack the time, dedication and academic expertise/networks/connections while working a day job, will make make all the difference.
I also want to keep myself open to options. To other jobs, internships within my field. A part of me wonders if I’m going for a PhD as it is the most obvious and therefore easy option. Yet it feels far from easy. It seems far from simple when the application form and getting funding itself seems like the biggest hurdle. I guess right now, I just feel like I am on the outside, wanting to get back into it, while trying to open my mind to other options in order to curb disappointment. While the truth is, I have nothing to really lose by sending applications off, and trying again next year if I don’t get in. I keep thinking a lot of it is to do with age, and not having the confidence that comes with age, despite having people around me who do remind me that I am capable.
I just had to type out a blog post because my inner conflicting voice finally got too much for me. Maybe this is too much of a ‘putting out there’, but between rearranging the thoughts in my brain into a sequence of: ‘well if this doesn’t work out, then I can do that, and if that doesn’t work out, then I can try again, and meanwhile keep doing this and trying to do that, and take it easy and work hard and you’ll get there, and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t as that’s not the only way to be happy,’ I figured I must not be the only one going through this. I thought writing it down would make it sound simple, but it hasn’t. It has helped me release, yes, but also made me realise I’m probably setting myself up for more pressure by letting the world know I’m applying. But I’ve been told to be less afraid of being vulnerable and I guess this is a start.
I guess I’m just not fully satisfied with where I am in life yet, even though I have a lot to be grateful for. Yet the more people I meet, the more I realise how rare it is to find a craft that you love and enjoy doing, and to spend 5 years in education honing and getting better at it, to simply not take it further, would be a darn crying shame, right? Writing is for life etc?