Friday, December 08, 2006


Hey folks, sorry I've been away from Blogland for a while. I had sort of a meltdown this week.

The Stats course nearly got the better of me. It came to the final paper and I thought, " I can't. I just... can't. I don't have it in me. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to fail..."

Asked for an extension. Didn't get it.

And the meltdown began.

I was going to withdraw from the course. Take it next semester again. (Next semester is the last semester I am allowed to take classes, according to my program's timeline. And this is a required course for me.) All sections of Stats for next semester are full.

I thought about my options:

  1. Withdraw from both the course and the Ph.D. program.
  2. Try to pass Stats.
  3. Avoid failure and shame by ending my life.
The last of these options was considered at length and ultimately discarded, leaving the other two.

I consulted with my Ph.D. supervisor who basically forbid me to withdraw from the course. "Do the paper... You'll likely end up more or less intact."

I thought about withdrawing the whole time I was writing the paper, trying to turn the endless internal recording of "I'm too stupid for this!" to happier, positive thoughts.

Didn't really work. But I tried anyway.

After 3 nights of not sleeping and not being able to turn my brain off all night (punctuated only by tears, and waking up crying after I did get to sleep), last night I downed four shots of tequila and finally got some sleep.

Oh yeah, and it just makes matters so much better when people you know look at you and say, "Gosh, you look like hell!"

Thanks. Now, bugger off!

The time limit to withdraw from courses was today at 4:00 p.m. I e-mailed my paper (31 pages) to the prof at 3:55, a few minutes before the deadline to hand that in, too.

So, the paper is in. I am not hopeful about passing.

But at least it is out of my hands.


backofpack said...

You are a smart, wonderful, warm and beautiful person. Whether you pass or not is just a blip on the radar. Stats don't matter...and my bet is you'll pass. Hang in there, girl!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

oh wow, how intense!!! i'll keep my fingers crossed you pass, and send peaceful vibes your way.

zouzou said...

ditto what BoP said. Every time you've had a panic attack so far, you've gotten an 'A'. So chill, sista. you're doing great. you're half way through already!! keep that tequila handy and chin up! hugs to you, I'll call soon

Sarah said...

Anyone who can write a 31 page statistics paper has my utmost admiration! I don't care what the prof thinks. : )

Keeping my fingers crossed, but I'm sure you'll pass!

sissoula said...

You took the best option of the three. Which was really the only one. :)

Misty said...

How long did 31 pages take? I can type 15 pages of dictated text in about 12 hours straight, or more with breaks, but when I have to think about the topics to write 15 pages of text, it takes weeks or months (because the breaks needed are longer).

Typing 31 pages is quite an accomplishment in and of itself. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Likely, you didn't do as poorly as you are an experienced teacher and student.

Stats is not an interesting subject. I had similiar thoughts when completing Stats in Math 30 (High School). I didn't complete the assignment, was not keen on other areas in Math 30, and failed the first time I took it. Took it the next semester, with a different teacher, and completed the Stats project and passed the course, which taught me that you only fail when you don't try.

Good on you for seeing it through. Here's hoping you didn't spend too much time contemplating the 3rd option.

Turtle Guy said...

All good and wise words from people who care about you, Sarah. Keep the faith.

robtherunner said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you Sarah. Get som rest and know that you are admired and loved even from a distance by people you've never met. (That would be people like me)

Anonymous said...

thinking of you... hang in there... :)))

Anvilcloud said...

I imagine that you'll get through somehow.

Rose said...

We put so much pressure on ourselves - last chance, last this, last that. You did the right thing - 4 shots of tequila, suck it up and finish it.

And you were much more polite to the bearer of "you look like hell" than I would have been. You are a good person. You'll pass.

Bast said...

No worries - it's just part of the PhD process. Totally normal. I had one after taking a medieval Latin course. Doesn't make it any more comfortable, mind you, but it is normal.

Anonymous said...

I am so not going to shower you with sappy bullshit, Sarah. Thus is the reality of academia; you know this and that's why you chose this. You are a woman of will and challenge. What makes you strong in this field of work is the inexhaustible ability to get the crap kicked out of you, and yet manage to pull yourself together and keep at 'er. You can and will do just that. Should you obtain a failing grade on your paper, this is by no means failure. It's a clear opportunity to better identify your potential weaknesses, acknowledge them and learn to improve them. This is what we tell our students and so we must (begrudgingly) heed our own advice. Grrr!

You, Sarah Eaton, are an academic. You were long before you even started your PhD. Now, you have made it through an incredibly challenging year and a half. In that time you have realized many, many accomplishments. Sure as shit I—and from the other comments here, I can only deduce that I am not alone—am NOT going to watch you give up on something you totally kick ass at!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Sarah. December's a doozy all the way around, and statistics is kind of a pre-installment on purgatory. Straight to St. Peter with you, my girl!

Badoozie said...

stats are the devil, and they should be eliminated from the face of this planet. the world would be robbed of your wisdom, and the heart you have for what you will do once you get your degree.... all because of this one stupid class..and for that I would be sad.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

I'm sure you did fine, just hang in there. ;)


Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

I'm sure you did fine, just hang in there. ;)


Granny said...

I bet you'll pass but no matter what happens, you'll always know you saw it through.

wthenrest said...

People believe in you as you about believing in yourself!!
'Shame' is a fictional thing!!! You create that yourself - you know your friends love you with or without a Ph.D! Ask me if I care about letters...but I do care about YOU.
You know you ask too much of yourself but you also know you can accomplish what you set out to do.
I am sorry I wasn't in town or I would have kicked your ass for thinking of quiting! In a nice way of course:0)