Anxieties in Transition

The last few months have been a blur, between school and transfer paperwork there wasn’t really any time to sit down and take in what was happening.

Yesterday, during the university orientation at my new school everything was going great. All my time and effort spent stressing over homework, exams and grades was paying off. I was excited, joking with my new classmates and feeling empowered. Then somewhere between lunch and meeting my advisor a new doubt began to surface, plaguing me with anxiety.

There was all this talk about the ramifications of failure. Warnings to check, double-check and triple-check your forms for errors. Assurances that if it became too much, I could take time off.

So I started thinking of all the things that had gone wrong at my junior college and began worrying about all the things that could go wrong at university. Then more doubts trickled into the little castle of achievements I had built. What if I didn’t really belong here?

achievementIt started with a headache that transformed into nausea and then morphed into me darting to the bathroom between sessions to ditch the enchilada I had for lunch.
I spent so long trying to plan this next step. Simply the thought of it faltering, even a little, was horrifying.

Apparently, this type of anxiety or ‘imposter fear’ isn’t uncommon, especially among women in math and science careers.

Read more here: Ways to Fight Imposter Fears – Wall Street Journal


After I calmed down and cleaned up, it was time to meet my advisors. It went great.

I showed him my carefully crafted educational plan, registered for classes and there was even banter about 17th-century painters.

However, it really didn’t feel like I escaped rough waters until a few hours ago. I was sitting down watching Cosmos and trying to select a minor, listening to Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about exactly what I’m currently studying. It felt right.

I have chosen a field that isn’t particularly glamorous or easy, but it is 100% me.

Here are some things to remember

  • Your transfer application is like your resume: If they accepted you you’ve already proven your qualified to do the job this is just your chance to see if you’ll fit in.
  •  Everyone at orientation is probably having the same doubts as you: Share your thoughts with those around you and bask in the togetherness.
  • Pack gum: You never know what’s going to happen (ie. puking, stinky lunch, etc.) It’s nice to have a  minty follow up when you meet new people.

Right now, I’m feeling much better about my future. The sign I had reached the point of smooth sailing came in the form of me stumbling upon a PhD info session that just so happens to be next week at the perfect time.

The universe provides, wish me luck!