Fifty Six

For just a little update,

It’s nearly three in the morning, and I refuse to beat myself for my sleep. No, I’m beating myself up for something else (because why else would I be writing here again?).

Sometimes, in art school, I have this sudden panic that I’m not fulfilling my full potential of being someone smarter with a science degree. I learned in art school I am damn good at sketching, drawing, designing, and even writing, but I literally have panic attacks when I encounter something related to science. All my memories flood back leaving me trying to pick up what was left by obsessively reading Nature articles and understanding none of it. It is just like before. I become frustrated and regretful and read even more, looking up terms I don’t have to know anymore on Wikipedia and still not understanding those damn papers. I was used to do this when I was a science major, but now that I had a bad breakup with my last major, that habit usually comes with a pang in my stomach and near asphyxiation. I feel like I have a combination of Alzheimer’s and PTSD symptoms where I am afraid of recognizing the words and figures that caused me so much self-hatred and doubt. Then, I would feel lost when I realize I really forgot them.

Deep down, I have this secret dream that I shot down when I didn’t believe I could do it. I have a secret dream of becoming a doctor. When I was in high school, I had a turbulent personal life and used to print out the Hippocratic Oath and tape it to my wall. Now, through all the withdrawals and “adventures”,  I might be a different kind of doctor whose path to medicine is more curved than the usual “track.” I want to be the doctor who lived a great life and found great love before serving life, death, and wellness. I want to be a doctor who can draw and sing, the type that can tell when patients are thirsty or too cold, or scared or excited. Whenever I look at the possibilities of maybe going back to regular studying and using some of my old science credits to take a shot at medical school, I have this secret smile, because I know, as a designer, I am learning what it means to care for people by creating for them. Then, I am happy, because that girl who used to read the Hippocratic Oath to herself everyday gets a hug.

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Thirty Nine

As a Pisces,

I need to work on my feelings before I can manage my logic. So when I face a difficulty, I usually wait out my moods. I calm down, feel the danger disappointment fill up and then drain out of me, and with some step by step coaxing, I recover on the reassurance that everything will work out.

Sunday, I avoided opening an e-mail from my PI about my unfinished draft of my research paper. I spent the morning buying Victoria’s Secret bras and in general, used hanging out with my best friend as an excuse not to check my PI’s corrections. Night comes, and I’m happily Skyping my boyfriend about how life is great and how research is going well. I check my e-mail, saw the crossed out paragraphs and the “wrong” this, “wrong” that, and my mood plummets.

My boyfriend notices that I suddenly went quiet as I thought about how stupid I must seem to my PI and to the rest of my lab now, since my PI told me to ask peers on the same level as me for help. A grad student himself, my boyfriend tried to comfort me, telling me how his first drafts were covered in cross outs and red marks as well, but he is well, a little more stable and logical.

At least he stayed with me, watching my grumpy face think about how to get myself out of this funk. I looked at the paper again and thought about the specific changes I can make on my own and listed out the questions I can ask the grad student and PI for those major points that I missed. I pieced my sanity back together piece by piece, and he is there with me, watching me bleed and heal. That’s the best we can do in this long distance relationship, and I am so grateful for him doing his best.

Everything turned out fine in the end. I got most of my draft done and my PI and grad student answered my questions without making me feel stupid. In fact, I am finally having intelligent conversations with those lab bosses, and I finally feel like I have the right to call myself a research assistant, or a “research” anything. I’m pacing myself, stopping work by five or six, and going home every night to eat with my family. Everything will be alright, my dear.