Sunday, 11 August 2013

Separating Emotions from Work

My mood's improving since the last post--I'm cautiously optimistic about my upcoming supervision meeting and I've been working on a new plan of attack for the dissertation.

For those 4 terrible weeks, I mostly kept the struggle to myself--it was only when I started talking with Richard, my family and friends that I finally realised that I'm not a failure and I actually do know what I'm doing with my project.

The most difficult thing for me is to not take criticism personally. I'm very sensitive and insecure, despite looking calm & self-assured most of the time. Some friends at ICS have told me that I seem very relaxed, considering the fact that I'm submitting relatively soon. I've always been good at hiding it and smiling through difficulties. The first time I arrived in London, I got on the Tube at Heathrow and took a seat. A Canadian couple boarded and sat across from me, and asked if the train was going to London. I said that I thought so, but wasn't sure, as it was my first time here, too. They laughed and said, "oh, you looked so relaxed, like you knew what you were doing!"

When it comes to my work, I'm especially sensitive. I've been thinking about how I can separate the emotions from the work, but I'm starting to doubt that it's possible. If you really care about your project and you feel that it is what you're meant to do with your life--if it's your calling--then you can't help but be emotional about it. 

I'm only sensitive about the important things. When I worked retail for a summer during Uni, I wasn't that great at it. We were supposed to complete transactions at the till in 60 seconds or less ("60 Second Checkout", the supervisors reminded us constantly). I wasn't that fast, and I was told that I needed to speed up. Criticism at that job didn't upset me, though--I knew it was just a summer job, and it wasn't my career or my calling. 

After my presentation at the Finland conference, one of the organisers said that I'd done well, and that she'd picked up on my enthusiasm. "You love your work, I can tell!" And it's true. 

Whatever people think of my work, my interest areas, my favorite books and authors, my dream of working in academia--the important thing is that I love it. It's my calling and I truly do feel that I'm living the dream.

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