Last night was one of those great nights. I drove my friend back to her dorm and we sat there in the car out in front of the building finishing our conversation. It was one of those conversations that didn’t really have a natural ending. Just shifted subjects on and on, one of those times where I actually felt like I was connecting with someone on a meaningful level of friendship. I didn’t care how long we sat there, I didn’t kick her out of the car, and she didn’t really notice the time going by either. When she left, she said, “I’ve kept you long enough.” And even though that was true last evening, I thought to myself that we should have longer than post-class late night car conversations. We agreed to try to get together more often, or on purpose, or something along those lines, but even if we don’t, I’m glad that she’s willing to walk me to my car on Tuesday nights so we can have those few minutes to talk even if they don’t lead into half hour or forty-five minute gab sessions.
As good as the talking was in and of itself, one of our discussions led me to reveal something about myself. Something that I’m still considering because I’m still feeling it. In all of my education, I have had a reluctance to speak to the people in positions of authority. I even avoided going to the nurse’s office so that I wouldn’t have to justify myself to an adult. At BU, I tried to make somewhat more of an effort, but sometimes only if it was a required part of the course that I meet with the professor to go over some assignment or another. Being a graduate student is difficult for me, and not because of the work. I can handle all of the reading and the writing and getting to class on time, but then there’s this thesis thing, and the dreaded exam. And the chicken arises.
I have a thesis committee composed of three faculty members. I have met and spoken with all three, I have had classes including an independent study with two. It has all gone well, and I know these individual people to be quite friendly and helpful. I know in my head that they want to help me succeed and that I should do everything I can to take advantage of their generosity. But I am still intimidated by these “adults.” I think of them as adults even though I am also an adult. I don’t know how else to think of teachers, even in high school when all my friends considered our choir and drama teachers as close to the level of friends that teachers can be, I still had this wall, and it was an effort to seek out even these most approachable faculty members. And even my current, hand-picked thesis committee makes me nervous.
It’s not their fault. I know that I’m being a chicken for no reason. I know that all I need to do is send an email and say, “let’s hook up and talk about stuff.” But as soon as I do, I start getting butterflies, like why would they want to bother with me? I’m so far behind in my reading, I don’t know nearly as much as I should about everything, including my own writing, I don’t deserve to take up their time and attention. This is stupid, and I know it. Well, my head knows it, but my insecurities just can’t help themselves from surfacing, especially in this stressful time. I’m really trying to do a good job in both classes and with my studying. I hope that I’m ready for my exam, even if I do end up having to take it in April.
Talking to my friend last night helped to calm me down somewhat. She has a really good head on her shoulders, and I appreciate that. It’s really therapeutic to have an itty bitty freak out in front of someone that can laugh at you, giving you permission to laugh at yourself as a result.
So, now I’ve got some professors to contact.