Forum: Advice / Secrets PG-13

Secrets PG-13
I feel lost and stupid.
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 27664, member since Fri Aug 03, 2001
On Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:56 AM

I had very bad depression in high school, so it was hard to study. Sometimes it was hard to get up at all in the morning. And it wasn't a good school, so in addition to normal coursework I was trying to learn French, catch up on Plato and Aristotle and go through the history of Western philosophy.

Then, in undergrad I was very much ahead in my philosophy courses. I really wanted to get away from my parents, so I rushed through the three years and applied to graduate school abroad. It was in a very specialised field, and I did a lot of independent study in the area, enough to make me quite a bit ahead of my classmates again. But that didn't help, I'll get to that later.

For the first semester, my roommate was an Italian undergraduate student who actually had a classical education from a top private school in Tuscany. She knew Greek and Latin, and was fluent in German. We both spoke some Russian, neither of us very well. She is now in graduate school in the same field as me, and often tells me that my research is of better quality than that of her classmates.

During my time in graduate school, I ran away from my parents, got into an abusive relationship, suffered severe PTSD, and constantly doubted my perception of reality. I was unable to write papers for a whole semester, but my professors still gave me passing grades (a C and D; the lowest passing grade is an E) due to my performance at seminars. I also got some Cs for mandatory ecology courses (I specialise in literary studies, and am completely new to zoology).

All the same, these aren't excuses for my poor grades. Yes, I could have done the extra studying outside my field, but I was too busy being numb for days on end. And even then, sometimes while crying and after not having slept for a whole night, I would spend my spare energy on my thesis, which is the most difficult and intricate one in my course group.

This year I thought I had regained some balance. Usually masters students here don't submit articles, and and some people here did advise me to focus on the thesis, but I did get accepted to three conferences. I am preparing four papers now, but none of them have been submitted yet. I'm in a great relationship, but things could get difficult if I can't stay here for phD.

Of course I would like to stay in the same city, but I also need some backups, and one possible choice was Torino. Today I looked at the admission requirements, and all the insecurities came back instantly: they wanted a real scholar with published papers, fluency in European languages (German, French and Italian) and high marks. I only have poor excuses for some low marks, a bunch of unfinished drafts, and some knowledge of languages that people at Torino probably don't care about.

In my current university in a post USSR republic, there is no library comparable to the ones you see in Western European universities. I can barely write emails in French, let alone papers, and I know almost nothing of German and Italian. There's no excuse for this because there are so many resources now available on the Internet. I could have signed up for language courses at the university, but I didn't. I could have blocked out the gaslighting and flashbacks, but I let them disturb me anyway. I was at the hospital for a suicide attempt during the end of the semester, and the psychiatrist told me to take good care of myself. My professors even let me pass, and didn't even give me the lowest marks, but it's still not enough. I want to continue my work, but sometimes I wonder if I have to be perfect. At my current department they say one is allowed to be human, but then the admission requirements at Torino come up, and I feel like an embarrassing failure all over again.

2 Replies to I feel lost and stupid.

re: I feel lost and stupid.
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 27664, member since Fri Aug 03, 2001
On Wed Mar 08, 2017 05:50 PM
First of all, hugs. I am going to tell you what stood out to me in your post, first.
1. You are extremely eloquent
2. Your post is very well written and organized
3. you were able to pass these courses without even really working at it (because you were so depressed)
4. There is a negative feel to your post and a lack of confidence

See, you are so smart that you uphold yourself to these strict standards, and you are afraid of venturing out because you are afraid of failing. Look at all you have done though, despite what you have gone through!! That is seriously amazing. You must be a genius, really..I remember reading somewhere that geniuses tend to be extra hard on themselves and can be "all over the place", if you can understand...it is because they are so creative =)

You feel you aren't a match with the criteria in Torino. Who cares what the requirements are? You need to put yourself out there...finish your papers, and then apply..have confidence that you have something special that they have never seen before..don't be intimidated. Know that most people devote hours and hours to accomplish what you have done with only a fraction of your mental capacity =)

I'd say, in my humble opinion, your strife was enough to warrant your poor grades. You were suffering trauma, and it breaks my heart you aren't allowing yourself to grieve. Just allow it...then move on...don't wallow, since that is dangerous, but I get the impression you never allowed yourself to acknowledge your pain...I could be wrong of course, but that is the impression I got. You are extremely intelligent and your trauma will naturally affect you much more because of this.

Confidence is key here. Forget about requirements or whether you meet the right criteria..the facts are clear. You have many many gifts..you need to get out there and show people what you are all about and have confidence that you will show them something that will make you stand out and will make them want YOU, regardless of how many languages you know =)
re: I feel lost and stupid.
By RulerOfTheArts Comments: 1186, member since Sun Mar 05, 2006
On Wed Mar 08, 2017 05:51 PM
^That poster was I =) Feel free to message me anytime <3

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