This week I’ve been mostly afraid.
There, I said it. I’ve been afraid of the future; the uncertainty; whether I’m “good enough”, whether I will fail in something, anything, whether I’m not smart enough for something, anything.
I felt my fear and listened to it the first couple of days this week. Then I went and talked with my supervisor and realized I fear programming because it is one area that is tough AND that doesn’t interest me especially. so I have to just swallow it. Most of my life, I’ve put in the hours to learn certain skills because I’ve found the topic interesting; and I’ve found enough of topics interesting to have succeeded in my career this far. But I have avoided to learn things that don’t interest me. Such as programming. In addition – there it is, hello my friend, fear of failure that is not mitigated with the passion on the topic.
It is true, of course, that I have avoided doing things I don’t like and I’m not good at, also because I don’t want to end up working at those things. This in my opinion is still a very relevant worry. Which has been the second reason why I have been afraid this week; I feel I should be a bit more precise in my idea about what I will do for living after all this study. (Last weekend we visited a friend who asked me, “what will you be when you grow up” and, while I was able to answer properly, the question has haunted me a bit.)
For example, in my family traditionally (what ever that means), people have been working on professions, jobs that require licenses or a very specific education. And social sciences seems to me probably the least professional education there is; your career is all about the people you know and how you put your opinions across. That insight combined with the fact that I’m an introvert made me switch the faculty 15 years ago. The non-profession career felt unnatural; it still does, though I’m clearly much more confident with the uncertainty than I was earlier.
Once again I notice that one of the issues I must tackle also during this PhD project is try to beat my fear for uncertainty and failing. My supervisor is very supportive and says failing is ok; that it’s ok to lose yourself and bang your head on the wall for a while; that nothing is ever certain. He cited a few people who basically ended up nowhere because they tried to achieve a level of certainty that is impossible to achieve. I feel like my brains know finding certainty is not possible an achievement; but still, sometimes (often… once a month) I find myself with the urge to plan for my uncertain future.
Now, the good thing is, I’ve worked with some of the hard parts and I’ve noticed I’m actually getting the hang of it. I’m clearly improving on the topic even if it is totally new to me. With success gained that way, I’ll probably be able to learn to trust myself and my skills also to learn about things I don’t care much about yet are quite hard. I’m already feeling much better and like the supervisor says – I have time.