Sunday, 7 April 2013

Performance Anxiety

 When I started the PhD & created this blog, I planned on using it as a research diary. I imagined that, 3 years hence, I’d have a record of the whole PhD process. That hasn’t happened, unfortunately—I haven’t been keeping it up nearly enough. It’s not that I don’t write because I don’t have time. I have plenty of time—I talk to my family for an hour or so every day, and I waste plenty of time on Facebook and YouTube.

I don’t update the blog because I have a bit of academic performance anxiety. I’ve only recently noticed it, and it’s definitely become an issue for me. Basically, I’m afraid of sounding stupid, or naive, or just plain being wrong. Looking back on my K-12 years, I’ve always had this problem. I never volunteered in class, I hated public speaking, and I was always afraid of looking stupid. But then, ironically, when I was recognised for being bright, I was shy about getting positive attention, too. I can’t win—I’m anxious either way. 

For some people, going online can be an outlet for this IRL problem. You can be anybody online, which is a very freeing thought. For me, though, and for this blog, it’s not really freeing. I have very few readers/followers, and they’re people who know my research field intimately. They’ll know when I get things wrong and this thought heightens my insecurities and keeps me from writing.

I’m working on getting over it. For too long now, I’ve been keeping my head down writing and not making enough progress. Something needs to change, obviously, and I think updating the blog more frequently might be a step in the right direction.

5 months to go before hand-in. 2 conferences coming up in the next few weeks. Several papers and chapters are late (another reason I don’t write on the blog—I always feel that I should be writing these papers and chapters, not blogging, especially when my supervisor will see it...very tricky situation!).

Time to get crackin’.

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