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An Honest Reflection on the Emotional Toll of Graduate School

by Anonymous **Blog Competition**

01/08/2019

 

I have always been an emotional person. I laugh a lot, cry a lot, scream and gasp a lot, and get surprised really easily. My emotions never really bothered me—I thought my ups and downs were a way of life, something everyone goes through on a daily basis. Besides, some extremities here and there just made life more interesting. 

 

It has come to my attention that I am incredibly emotionally sensitive and unstable these days. Even the slightest things stir me up, and somehow those negative emotions don’t go away. 

 

It used to be the other way round—I would be happy most of the time, and even when something upset me,  I would find something interesting and forget about what made me upset. My default face used to be a smile, and now it is a neutral face with tears welling in my eyes.

 

I hoped that this would only be a phase. I hoped that in a few days, I’ll be rolling along with a big smile under the bright sun, humming my way around campus, looking forward to running into friends and engaging in conversations. But this phase has lasted a lot longer than my expectation, and I do not see an end approaching.

 

I’m trying hard to recover from this mess, but I can’t tell when I’ll be okay. I am suffocating under the pressure of my thesis, my career, and my future. Today I made some goals for myself. I didn’t get to finish them. I felt bad. As I go to bed, I’ll worry about tomorrow, knowing I have things to catch up on. Tomorrow I’ll make more goals, fail to reach them and feel bad once again. I can’t help but fail, and I can’t help but be harsh at myself. 

 

So instead of pretending to be fine, I decided to admit that I am weak. I will fail, but that’s okay. I will need to ask for help and support from others, but that’s okay. I might cry in public resulting in some people staring at me, but that’s okay. Maybe someone will give me a hug.

 

This is me now, and I’m okay with that. 

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