Am i good enough, existential crises, PhD, student life, students
November 19, 2015 at 10:11
Anonymous – if you are yourself a student, I hear you. I’m not sure what kind of student you are, but I know very well which one I am. My name is here – look me up if you wish to talk.
November 19, 2015 at 11:38
“Envisage the perfect student.” This sounds dangerous, because it’s something I sometimes do and it never fails to send me into a panic of inadequacy. I think it’s more important to remember that the “perfect student” doesn’t actually exist, and everyone goes through periods of enthusiasm, and periods of “this is hard and boring”… maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve never had anyone tell me otherwise.
November 19, 2015 at 11:50
Eleanor, I think the point of this post is exactly that – you say it sounds dangerous envisaging the perfect student as it sends you into panic – meaning your idea of perfect student is something you cannot achieve and makes you feel like you’re worth less than you are. And if I’m reading this correctly (I might be wrong, I don’t know) the post is trying to say that this exact thing shouldn’t be the case?
November 19, 2015 at 12:08
As far as I understood the post, it’s to say that some people don’t consider themselves “the perfect student” and that these people should not be considered less capable as students or academics.
But the assumption built in is that “the perfect student” actually exists, as a real person who you are comparing yourself to. I’m not convinced about that. It’s easy to assume other people are perfect when inside they are battling just the same fears that you are. Comparing yourself to a fictional person seems like a recipe for impostor syndrome. Of course, maybe I’m wrong, maybe the perfect student does exist… (I hope not haha)
November 19, 2015 at 12:30
Yes, but the assumption there is that the perfect student is this person that pledges their life to research, rather than someone being more slack. If someone more slack was your perfect student than everyone working really hard would be weird and frowned upon and not the other way around.
November 19, 2015 at 12:31
November 19, 2015 at 12:35
Independently of whether the “perfect” student exists or not, for all of us who do not consider themselves the “perfect” student, the question we should ask ourselves is: Do we really, really want to be like the perfect student.
I mean, take the third paragraph in the text (the one about devotion). I read it and thought, yes that`s how I envision the motivation of the perfect student to be ALL THE TIME. And it sounds good, an everlasting source of motivation. Never stopping. Never questioned …
Wait, never? Something is wrong there. I read it again. And again. I started switching words like “studie” and “project” with “nation” or “religion”; and “student” with “soldier” or “believer” …. You end up with the description of a fundamentalist. Sure, a science fundamentalist, so probably less harmfull then other kind of fundamentalists. But a fundamentalist nevertheless.
November 19, 2015 at 12:37
November 19, 2015 at 13:50
I agree. And that’s what I thought the purpose of the post was – to make you think and potentially see how wrong that could be. Again, I don’t know what the motivation of the poster is and whether the poster is (close to) this representation of the “perfect student” or at the other end of the spectrum. I can’t ready any personal opinions from this post, just a bunch of questions. But I think this is saying – if you are truly enjoying working like that, by all means do so. But if others aren’t or can’t work like that – they shouldn’t be forced/encouraged to do so or expected to rise to that level. And that’s where the image of the “perfect student” should change.
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