crash & burn.

Seriously, where can I buy some confidence?

I am so tired (so tired) of feeling like I am not good enough. I am so frustrated (so frustrated) of not knowing how much I know. I feel like a second-class version of myself and worse, a third-class version of someone else. I wish I would stop measuring myself against other people, and to a significant degree I have, but these engineering concepts and whatnot, which I am learning – I just can’t seem to get them as intuitively as my peers do. I just… don’t fucking get them. Was I like this in the past too, in undergrad? Was that period simply a joke?

Do you fake it until you become it? But what if you’ve faked it for the past four years, what then?

I wish I could be more inspiring, that I could carry myself with an assured kind of confidence, hold my self-worth intact amid multiple shit storms and ruffled feathers. I wish I am more of an inspiration about the graduate school life, engineering, and living one’s dreams – I know there are high schoolers reading this space, and aspiring undergraduates. I want to be someone who urges you to keep on going, you know? The kind of motivator/friend/mentor who cheers you from behind because she’s supposedly been there and done that, you know? I wish I am cooler, that I’m sharing exciting stories about the newfound friends, the enriching and mentally stimulating grad school life, and the kind of positive sentiments as I move forward and focus on a niche relevant to my future career goals and aspirations.

But let’s not kid ourselves here; I can’t, and I’m sorry.

I just know that – and you need to know this too – that I am not representative of a typical graduate student’s life, experiences and sentiments. Okay, maybe sentiments, but definitely not life. The whole work/life balance, social/love life balance and not cracking under intense workload and pressure – I apologize; you need to look elsewhere. Trust me though, they are possible and they exist. Here, let me direct you – look for my peers.

These days, this is what’s been puzzling me, this single statement: I don’t know what to do with my life.

I wish I could paint rosier photos, because the thing I hate the most (…about myself) is when I bog others down with my negativities and insecurities. If my ship is sinking, let it be mine alone. I hate this feeling that it’s like I’m discouraging others, from the sound of it here. I wish I could declare to the Stanford believers that this place is the shit as they’ve long believed (but it is) and believe it for myself. This place though… on bad days, I hate it. I fucking hate it. On really bad periods like this final crunch time, on a bad day like today, on a Friday of an exhausting week – I hate the person I have turned into, since coming here. I hate how this place emphasizes my incompetence, and how I succumb so easily to that. I hate how this place proves that there are in fact overachievers and Mark Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs in this world, that they are all real and true, and worst (best) of all – how extremely down-to-earth and humble most of them are.

How can you, where do you even begin, to hate people who are so nice?

When I talk about this place, most times I know that it isn’t so much the institution; it’s myself.

So here’s a piece of advice: don’t hate yourself. Just don’t.

Of all the messages to take with you on how not to be me, it’s that – don’t hate yourself. Don’t listen to that voice inside of you, who tells you are not good enough. Fight it. Fight against it. Fight against it with all your might.

Learn it from me, if it’s the single thing I hope I can still deliver, in all this bogged down negativity: learn to overcome.

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4 thoughts on “crash & burn.

  1. You are still an inspiration to your readers. You do not have to write super rosy glowing posts to be inspiring. I am glad you are honest about your struggles. I think spring break will do you a lot of good so you can just get away and take a breather. ;)

    1. You are always so kind, thanks Heisui :’) I really hope spring break will be exactly that. Just two more weeks (though it’s the busiest two weeks ugh…)

  2. Hi, Jan *gives your a virtual hug*

    I just want to thank you for wiling to share bits of your life; the experiences and the struggles. I appreciate your honesty and genuine insights on it. That for me, is inspiring because I know there are no sugar-coating elements in real life and I’m glad you don’t hold back on saying what you’re going through as it is.

    I understand that it’s extremely difficult to do so, especially when your thoughts are clouded but give yourself a credit, because I know you’re trying very hard :)

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