Personality Cafe banner

1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,669 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed there are a lot of grad students on here, but that they're all suffering from inexplicably low self-esteem and/or imposter syndrome.

Am I going to jump off a bridge after one semester or what? Is it really so bad? What about grad school is such a bummer? Besides the research... Is it a bad social environment? Too aimless?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,522 Posts
If its INTP related, its not grad school it's life, I'm always a few hours away from jumping off a bridge
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
I've noticed there are a lot of grad students on here, but that they're all suffering from inexplicably low self-esteem and/or imposter syndrome.

Am I going to jump off a bridge after one semester or what? Is it really so bad? What about grad school is such a bummer? Besides the research... Is it a bad social environment? Too aimless?
Take a bunch of really bright people, who are used to being the biggest frogs in their pond. Put them in a little itty bitty pond filled up with other, equally big frogs. (And self-esteem, unlike self-compassion, is based on how you rank compared to your peers...) Oh, and chop them off from whatever social network they had. (Going from undergrad school, which is one of the most networked places in the US, to your department's little itty bitty social bubble.) All working day, you never see anybody besides your students, your professors, and your colleagues/competition. Hope you've learned how to have a social life outside of school, while you were an undergrad! (Oh, you didn't, because you were too busy studying and hanging out with your college buddies?) Oh, and you're constantly observed and critiqued! Not a single little nuance of behavior goes unremarked!

It's possible to make it through grad school without breaking, but I think we *all* get bent. Keep in mind that you will almost certainly have some free visits to Student Psychological Services to use.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,669 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Take a bunch of really bright people, who are used to being the biggest frogs in their pond. Put them in a little itty bitty pond filled up with other, equally big frogs. (And self-esteem, unlike self-compassion, is based on how you rank compared to your peers...) Oh, and chop them off from whatever social network they had. (Going from undergrad school, which is one of the most networked places in the US, to your department's little itty bitty social bubble.) All working day, you never see anybody besides your students, your professors, and your colleagues/competition. Hope you've learned how to have a social life outside of school, while you were an undergrad! (Oh, you didn't, because you were too busy studying and hanging out with your college buddies?) Oh, and you're constantly observed and critiqued! Not a single little nuance of behavior goes unremarked!

It's possible to make it through grad school without breaking, but I think we *all* get bent. Keep in mind that you will almost certainly have some free visits to Student Psychological Services to use.
What I don't get is why they're so petty about stuff.

At a couple of my interviews, I honestly felt I was being sized up in terms of social fit much more than I was anything else. I got into all but 1 school (waitlisted at a school because I told them I wouldn't probably go, to be fair to other people who might want to), but I only felt that I truly fit in at one. It seems like a lot of people try to force grad school to be a soap opera when it doesn't need to be. I saw some competitive nasty stuff being directed at ME, already, at one school, because I was being recruited into a lab that sucks up a lot of resources and the professors were openly trying to sell me on their labs for rotations at the party.

I chose the school where I fit in best and where everyone 1) looked healthy and happy, and 2) acted "normal" and outgoing and enthusiastic about life. I think I made the right decision, but I don't know if I can take 5 years of 8th grade level gossip and cliquey infighting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
What I don't get is why they're so petty about stuff.

At a couple of my interviews, I honestly felt I was being sized up in terms of social fit much more than I was anything else. I got into all but 1 school (waitlisted at a school because I told them I wouldn't probably go, to be fair to other people who might want to), but I only felt that I truly fit in at one. It seems like a lot of people try to force grad school to be a soap opera when it doesn't need to be. I saw some competitive nasty stuff being directed at ME, already, at one school, because I was being recruited into a lab that sucks up a lot of resources and the professors were openly trying to sell me on their labs for rotations at the party.

I chose the school where I fit in best and where everyone 1) looked healthy and happy, and 2) acted "normal" and outgoing and enthusiastic about life. I think I made the right decision, but I don't know if I can take 5 years of 8th grade level gossip and cliquey infighting.
As far as I can tell, fear. Lots of competition for scarce resources, and politics is a game of resource distribution. Plus, if they accept you, *they're* going to be stuck with you for 5 years, and you'll be representing them for the rest of your career if you make it through.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,669 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
As far as I can tell, fear. Lots of competition for scarce resources, and politics is a game of resource distribution. Plus, if they accept you, *they're* going to be stuck with you for 5 years, and you'll be representing them for the rest of your career if you make it through.
It's just such a strange world compared to corporate America. It's all reputation based. In academia, there are people who will want to see you fail, because they imagine it's a zero-sum game. There's no tangible way to measure performance, besides the indices of publishing rate, etc. So unproductive but ruthless people can muscle their way into positions very easily. In corporate America, your performance is everything- nobody cares about reputation. And performance can be easily measured in dollars. No matter how much flak I got for my INTP personality traits, I performed, so they couldn't touch me. I feel pressured to kiss ass a lot in academia, and I haaaaate kissing ass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
It's just such a strange world compared to corporate America. It's all reputation based. In academia, there are people who will want to see you fail, because they imagine it's a zero-sum game. There's no tangible way to measure performance, besides the indices of publishing rate, etc. So unproductive but ruthless people can muscle their way into positions very easily. In corporate America, your performance is everything- nobody cares about reputation. And performance can be easily measured in dollars.
It more-or-less *is* a zero-sum game, I think. The worst part is the Dilbert Principle is in play. I don't think anybody who really loves academic subjects wants an administrative position. They'd rather just get a decent paycheck for geeking out. So guess who wins the competition for administrative positions?
 

·
Registered
iNtp sp/sx x84
Joined
·
4,063 Posts
could just go on holiday and decide to stay a little longer, maybe do some field research, yeah let's call it field research... fantasize about going back and doing another degree, maybe head into a professional school because on whatever whim you might have taken the mcat or the lsat, if only for bragging rights... or maybe you could go raise some goats somewhere, goats, that's a fun word to say, isn't it? goats... you wouldn't have to go into debt for goats. We could sell 'em across the country as green powered paper shredders. goats.

8th grade level gossip and cliquey infighting is pretty consistent with the working world... whether working for someone else or yourself... your childhood is never truly over. (... I really should make a point to return sometime... field research only goes so far.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
I’m not sure if I’m included in this, but don’t let my whining and misgivings in other threads influence your perspective of grad school, we’re two very different sorts of person.
My appreciation of my capabilities is rooted in reality, it isn’t grad school that put me in this state of mind. I have always been fighting the fact that I am in some sense a shell of a person, and I need to be more accepting of it. I don’t have impostor syndrome, but I do have low self esteem that has been with me most of my life.

I think you’ll do fine, but that’s just my opinion.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,669 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
It more-or-less *is* a zero-sum game, I think. The worst part is the Dilbert Principle is in play. I don't think anybody who really loves academic subjects wants an administrative position. They'd rather just get a decent paycheck for geeking out. So guess who wins the competition for administrative positions?
I was only ever a manager because a CEO had a crush on me and thought I was an economics savant (I've never even taken a course, I know nothing about econ). I can see how you'd get dependent on doing almost nothing for a cushy salary, though.

I really hope I don't end up with a bad advisor...I've heard horror stories.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
I really hope I don't end up with a bad advisor...I've heard horror stories.
Depends on how the department assigns them, I guess. Here, the MA students get stuck with the Director of Graduate Studies. (An administrative position.... people hold it not because it pays more, but because research, teaching, and *service* all count towards tenure and raises.) But it's up to you to find your own PhD advisor. I got started pretty late, and the first two profs I asked turned me down. pleeding overwork, but the third one agreed. Me and him get along fairly well. I don't email him for months on in, and then magically, a near-perfect dissertation chapter shows up out of the blue. And he doesn't give me shit about it. If I was with one of the other professors, who requires you hand in *something* every two weeks, I'd loose my goddamn mind. Like another professor said, when I produce, I produce really well, the problem is the producing.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,669 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Depends on how the department assigns them, I guess. Here, the MA students get stuck with the Director of Graduate Studies. (An administrative position.... people hold it not because it pays more, but because research, teaching, and *service* all count towards tenure and raises.) But it's up to you to find your own PhD advisor. I got started pretty late, and the first two profs I asked turned me down. pleeding overwork, but the third one agreed. Me and him get along fairly well. I don't email him for months on in, and then magically, a near-perfect dissertation chapter shows up out of the blue. And he doesn't give me shit about it. If I was with one of the other professors, who requires you hand in *something* every two weeks, I'd loose my goddamn mind. Like another professor said, when I produce, I produce really well, the problem is the producing.
Yeah, when I did my undergrad thesis, my advisor kept getting anxious because a month into the semester I had no "outline" for him. But then I handed in draft of the first 20 pages and he literally never bothered me again about it until the week it was due.

Fit is everything, I'm sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
Depends on how the department assigns them, I guess. Here, the MA students get stuck with the Director of Graduate Studies. (An administrative position.... people hold it not because it pays more, but because research, teaching, and *service* all count towards tenure and raises.) But it's up to you to find your own PhD advisor. I got started pretty late, and the first two profs I asked turned me down. pleeding overwork, but the third one agreed. Me and him get along fairly well. I don't email him for months on in, and then magically, a near-perfect dissertation chapter shows up out of the blue. And he doesn't give me shit about it. If I was with one of the other professors, who requires you hand in *something* every two weeks, I'd loose my goddamn mind. Like another professor said, when I produce, I produce really well, the problem is the producing.
I just sent my once every two weeks report a day short of 1 week late. Sigh.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
Yeah, when I did my undergrad thesis, my advisor kept getting anxious because a month into the semester I had no "outline" for him. But then I handed in draft of the first 20 pages and he literally never bothered me again about it until the week it was due.

Fit is everything, I'm sure.
Ngh. >.< outlines.... I'm lucky if I could give you an outline for my paper *after* I'm done writing it. I just *love* how educators assume everybody is an xSTJ...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,669 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I just sent my once every two weeks report a day short of 1 week late. Sigh.
Isn't everyone always late with those things in grad school? The one PI whom I've met with a bunch of times seemed to have no idea where his students were in their projects. He had just had one student publish and I asked him a question about the paper and he had no idea what it was even about. He didn't seem organized at all and when I was sitting in his office, I watched him refresh his email once and get like 100 in the span of 10 minutes. Do those people even care if you're a day late with something?

This was an engineering lab, but still...

crazyeddie said:
Ngh. >.< outlines.... I'm lucky if I could give you an outline for my paper *after* I'm done writing it. I just *love* how educators assume everybody is an xSTJ...
I had to write an outline and 2 drafts for an organic chem lab report once, and I honestly had no idea how to do it. My writing springs fully formed from my head, Athena-style. I can polish the wording, but I cannot for the life of me break it down into steps.

I'm in a music theory course and I can play any scale you want on the piano, but when we had to break it down and generate scales step-by-step, I had a very rough time.

INTP brain FTW.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
Isn't everyone always late with those things in grad school? The one PI who I've met with a bunch of times seemed to have no idea where his students were in their projects. He had just had one student publish and I asked him a question about the paper and he had no idea what it was even about. He didn't seem organized at all and when I was sitting in his office, I watched him refresh his email once and get like 100 in the span of 10 minutes. Do those people even care if you're a day late with something?

This was an engineering lab, but still...
My mentors have 2 phd students each, as far as I’m aware. They care and have reminded me of it on a few occasions.
They are rather busy but also quite on top of things.

The one is very, very well known in his domain and he has a very practical, structured and thorough approach to research. He isn’t happy with me, that much I know.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,669 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
My mentors have 2 phd students each, as far as I’m aware. They care and have reminded me of it on a few occasions.
They are rather busy but also quite on top of things.

The one is very, very well known in his domain and he has a very practical, structured and thorough approach to research. He isn’t happy with me, that much I know.
Aren't they always assholes, though? I mean, isn't that part of the "hazing" process...

You might clash personality wise, but I doubt he thinks you're incompetent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
Isn't everyone always late with those things in grad school? The one PI who I've met with a bunch of times seemed to have no idea where his students were in their projects. He had just had one student publish and I asked him a question about the paper and he had no idea what it was even about. He didn't seem organized at all and when I was sitting in his office, I watched him refresh his email once and get like 100 in the span of 10 minutes. Do those people even care if you're a day late with something?
Probably not, but they sure as hell put up a good front.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
Aren't they always assholes, though? I mean, isn't that part of the "hazing" process...

You might clash personality wise, but I doubt he thinks you're incompetent.
Generally, that might be the case, but I’ve been lucky.

They were very understanding in the beginning with my health issues, encouraged me to return back to SA for a month to see if I felt better. One is very supportive, he only tries to guide me.

The other, very well known dude, has the perfect approach really. He’s good with people, and very practical. He doesn’t tolerate shit but he also works to exploit each individual’s strength. I just haven’t played ball and done what they have asked of me. Occasionally I’ve wasted their time during meetings for various reasons.

I’m pretty sure he is starting to think I’m incompetent now, he’s showing signs of losing interest and letting me dig a bigger hole for myself.

I can’t blame them really, at all, just myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,216 Posts
I'm at grad school for social work, and because I don't want to help the little children (I want to help old senile people with their paperwork) I am still a big fish in a small pond!
All those poor people who are going to get stuck in geriatric field placement because there isn't anything left.. hahahahah!

Most social work faculty is just really nice, too. So that is helpful.

But other people don't take me seriously. Oh well, at least I'll have a job.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top