I feel really agitated and nervous.
Little thoughts grow into big ones.
Do I want to drop Japanese? It takes a lot of time away from other things. I don't really need to have taken a class in it.
Do I want to just skip applying to the NSF fellowship? I dread writing application essays like little else. I probably won't get it anyway. I have no coherent research plan to talk about.
Do I want to drop out of grad school? Many people around me seem to be considering such things. I like to think I am on my way to becoming less vulnerable to irrational fears of can't-hack-it, but (a) that totally doesn't seem true and (b) there are still more rational fears left: the reality of the size of the task of completing a PhD is sinking in.
Not to mention the size of the task of living the rest of my life even after hypothetically getting one. Can I really teach? Can I really do important work? At least important enough work to stay afloat? Can I really tolerate all the particular bullshit of academia, the politics, the paper-writing, the never-ending supplicating for money and attention and status? Lord knows I've found little patience in me for the particular bullshit of software industry.
Should I just ditch computer science as a field of endeavour altogether? Maybe it really is math after all that's my thing. Maybe lingustics, for all I know. Maybe I don't have a thing, after years and years of identifying wint having one.
Such questions I find myself so often hypocritically tut-tutting at my peers for asking. Oh, just another person not motivated enough, not passionate enough to be able to keep themselves going. Just another person who, sure enough, really could hack it if they tried, is decently smart and capable and clever, but just doesn't have the drive to push through the hard bits.
Not me, I say to myself. I know in my heart of hearts that I'm hot shit. I know I can do great things. I know I can think deep thoughts. I know I can create great art. I know I can spin beautiful music. Because I'm a fucking human being with a working brain in its head and fingers at the ends of its arms. I think to myself that that little flame will never go out as long as I draw breath, that my inner arrogant asshole will always be there.
But no: me, too. Sometimes the flame does flicker a bit. I should be more understanding when it happens to people around me.