Life as an Extreme Sport

Parallel Position

I’ve just had what I’m sure is the first of many of this particular type of experience: not completely understanding an academic subject, but curious enough to engage, and put myself out enough to ask questions (clearly labelling myself as a novice looking to learn), and basically got shut down with a “no” and nothing else.

The most frustrating thing is that, from reading further comments, I do actually understand precisely what they’re saying, and what I was saying is not unrelated or wrong, it’s just not said right, if that makes sense. I don’t hold the language-fluency necessary to communicate my particular thoughts on the matter. I realize this is my CHID education biting me, and I realize this is going to come up again and again.

I just wonder, 3000 miles away from CHID, will I have the strength of will to continue putting myself out there and risk being wrong (and brusquely told so) in order to learn?

For what it is worth, I do realize that it’s normal to question your intelligence and ability to head off to grad school and do it, and that imposter syndrome is especially strong in women. I’m just dismayed to be feeling it already.

I have a feeling I’m going to be very quiet in Albany.


  1. Kelly, I don’t think it’s right to say that you were shut down with a “no”, since I devoted a medium-sized comment (#29) to trying to explain what what going on. Hang in there, don’t worry about getting things wrong, and don’t get discouraged.

  2. Heh, those pesky track-backs and my desire to honestly capture experiences and transitions! 😉

    Like I semi-elaborated here, a lot of it is in language/vocabulary differences, Chris. The program I’m coming out of is one of those irritating, one-of-a-kind places, which means I have a really interesting interdisciplinary education, but I don’t necessary have the vocabulary of anyone but that department. So it makes some things, like shifting to new places, a bit difficult – I have a steep learning curve ahead of me, and it’s intimidating.

    I realize you did try to explain, it’s just that language/vocab gap coming in to play. I’ll get the hang of it eventually, and I’m very aware that the only way to get the hang of it is to continue trying until I get it right.

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