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Sometimes you have to say “screw it” and go to bed without accomplishing anything all day. This is one of those times, and man, my bed is comfy.

Also, took a few days off from NaBloPoMo by accident….life got away from me for a bit.

Almost

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I’m almost caught up with all my work. I have my last exam to make up tomorrow. I’m so glad I’ve almost made it through this week. Now I just really hope that I studied enough…I got very sleepy and a bad headache came on so I cut studying short.

I guess we’ll see!

Confidence vs. Ability

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I’ve trained in the martial art of Tang Soo Do for the past 13 years. After trying sports, dance, swimming, you name it, my mom mentioned Tang Soo Do to me. Both my brothers were martial artists, and I had ALWAYS wanted to do Tae Kwon Do with the brother in the middle of the 3 of us. My mom took me for my first class and I fell in love. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve stumbled, faltered, and flat out fallen on my face (literally and figuratively) along the way, but I’ve kept going.My Sah Bum Nim (that’s the Korean term for master…like “Sensei” for karate) always told me that when life started to get hard, I could always come back to my roots. All through high school, I would do that. I’d stop training for a few months and life would start to get the best of me. I’d go back to class and order would slowly be restored.

My Kwan Jang Nim (he’s the grand master – our head honcho) always says “you’ve got to have a Tang Soo attitude.” He always pushes us on being strong, confident, and humble. That’s what makes a good warrior. And we always have our Tang Soo Do family to help us. Sah Bum Nim often says, “Blood is thicker than water…but so is sweat.” It’s kind of cheesy, but it’s true. It’s amazing the relationships I’ve built with these people. To have SBN, someone who has known me since I was 11 years old in my life as a mentor is such a valuable asset. He calls me his adopted daughter because he’s literally watched me grow up. He’s met boyfriends, helped me through breakups, and seen me through a lot of rough times. And he’s never hesitated to yell at me or give me unsolicited advice…much like most parents haha.

So when I was supposed to be testing for my 3rd Dan (3rd degree) black belt in October, I was frustrated. A college degree had set me back several years behind schedule, and a car accident had set me back further. Now I was in grad school, trying to balance a full caseload, classes, summer social life, and training at least 2 (sometimes 3 or 4) nights a week. My training was inconsistent and I was struggling to learn all my new material, as well as recall, and in some cases, relearn, my old material in preparation for the test. Three days before the test, I was learning some last minute defenses. I was feeling shaky about all of my forms (I really did not know them as well as I should have – I couldn’t do them alone, I needed someone along side me who knew them) and I just truly didn’t think I was prepared enough for the test. I had a complete meltdown in class. The messy kind of crying where you’re sobbing and your chest is heaving and you just can’t breathe. Sah Bum Nim stood right in front of me while I cried and demanded I look him in the eyes. I was so embarrassed and frustrated, the last thing I wanted to do was to look my instructor in the eyes and have him see me so defeated. But he wouldn’t quit. So I looked up at him, and all he said was, “You’re having a crisis of confidence, not a crisis of ability.” For the rest of the night, whenever my tears would start up again, that was all he would say to me. We ended the night with him telling me that if I wasn’t ready he would tell me. And then he repeated “Crisis of confidence, not crisis of ability,” once more time. I passed my test. I didn’t do great, and it was definitely my worst one yet, but I did it.

Tonight he sent me a text to try and entice me to get back to class. I haven’t been in probably a month, between illness, school, and my migraines. So I told him that I’m really struggling with my life right now and I just need to get myself back in order before I can throw one more thing back on my plate. We sent some texts back and forth, a mix of sarcasm & lecturing from him, defeat & defiance from me, and dry humor from both of us. The last text he sent me said, “Just remember who you are and what you’re made of…the will of a Tang Soo Black Belt can shatter stars!”

I can always count on him to believe in me when the last thing I can do is believe in myself.

I will get through this week, and I know that. I’m just having a crisis of confidence.

Sah Bum Nim & Me, right after my test for 3rd Dan

Sah Bum Nim & Me, right after my test for 3rd Dan

Attitude (and Frustration)

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This will be a short post, because I have a massive exam tomorrow that I need to cram for.

I was driving home from an awesomely nostalgic day with some of my radio friends (more on that another time) earlier this evening and starting thinking about the week ahead of me.

I’ve been out of school for basically 2 full weeks, in and out of the ER with a migraine that just wouldn’t quit. In that time, I’ve missed all of my lectures (the migraine didn’t allow for me to deal with technology for extended periods of time, so Skype wasn’t an option), 4 hours of client sessions, 3 assignments, 3 progress reports, one exam for pediatric dysphagia, and one final for orofacial anomalies. Tomorrow there’s an exam for my preschool literacy class that I haven’t been to in two weeks. That class isn’t structured like most of the classes with that professor, so I have a hard time following along with the organization and flow of the lectures.

Anyway. I’m driving home and start reflecting on a conversation I had with my dad at 1am when I got home from work last night. We talked about school and the fact that my time at the university are drawing to a close, my desire to get out of the classroom and into the workplace, and my starting this blog and the whole Impostor’s Syndrome that led us here. The overall theme of the conversation was that attitude really is everything. If I start feeling sorry for myself, my insecurities and negativity are going to eat me alive. I pride myself on my ability to appear confident, even when I’m not. I need to start embracing that again, and feed off of it to make it a reality. I don’t want to appear confident, I want to be confident.

I was feeling really positive until I got home and saw that a test grade that had been entered online went from being a 92% to…significantly lower. I figured out that the professor at put the actual percentage as the total number of points, which made my grade much higher since the exam was out of less than 100 points. I guess the professor noticed that when she went back in and changed it, which is obviously the correct thing to do. But how devastating it is to think you got an A…and then it gets taken away from you. And it was the first exam for the class in which I’m taking the second exam tomorrow and am studying for tonight. So…confidence deflated, frustration initiated.

But attitude is everything. There is nothing I can do about that grade right now but everything I can do about the grade on the exam tomorrow. I can’t let poor results cloud the rest of my week. And it’s already 9pm, so I need to get this done with, get on with studying, and get to bed at a decent hour.

So my plan for this week (pending acceptance from all the professors involved) is to:

  • study my butt off tonight for this exam tomorrow and take it as it comes.
  • have killer sessions with my clients (my lesson plans before I was out with my migraine were awesome and I was really looking forward to my materials – I love teacherspayteachers.com)
  • make up some of my missed client time tomorrow & possibly Tuesday.
  • hand in my 3 assignments by Tuesday
  • write one progress report Tuesday
  • Make up my pediatric dysphagia exam Wednesday
  • Take my CPR practicum course Wednesday
  • Make up my orofacial anomalies final on Thursday
  • write one progress report Thursday/Friday

By the end of the week I’ll still have client time to make up, and that awful exam grade to deal with, but I really want to get back on track this week. I’m just scared of exhausting myself and bringing this migraine back on, so I need to make sure I pace myself, focus, and get enough sleep.

My friend (and biggest cheerleader/advocate for me right now) reminded me that I have 5 weeks to go in this semester. Then it’s on to externships. Wow.

Alright, guys. Positivity & focus. Let’s do this.

Impostor Syndrome (So you want to start a blog…)

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Alright, WordPress. Let’s do this. Let’s blog.

I’ve seen so many SLP grad students with super successful blogs and I think, “This is really cool. I should do this.” But they sound so smart. And so interesting. How do they know so much about the field that I don’t? Is it the university they went to? Should I be spending all my free time (what free time?) online networking and researching and blogging and wholly invested in the world of speech-language pathology?  I’ve been putting off starting a blog for so long and for so many reasons…none of them very legitimate…I’m too busy, no one wants to read what I think, I’m not smart enough, I won’t be compelling enough, I’ll never follow through with it. All negatives about ME.

And so we run right into the title of this post…impostor syndrome. THAT is the real reason why I haven’t started a blog. This crippling self doubt I have that what I think and know isn’t enough. I have to give a shout out to a wonderful professor who found my tweet last night through the #slp2b & #slpeeps hashtags:

So, like any good grad student, I listened to @SAttsppeech. I did a quick Google search of “impostor syndrome.” The feeling of being undeserving of one’s successes and accomplishments. Feeling like a fraud or an impostor. The fear that one will be “found out.” Feeling inadequate around your peers.  The overwhelming majority of the articles I read (which was well over a dozen) cited graduate students as the individuals most likely to be harboring these feelings.

I felt a little better after reading so many accounts of graduate students feeling like this (and after reading that it isn’t considered a mental disorder), so I saved my work, closed my Macbook, and went to bed.

I have less than 50 days of class left before I go out on my externship and I’m going to try as hard as I can to get out of this feeling of inadequacy before I go. Which leads us here. For NaBloPoMo (I think this is such a silly name for anything) I’m going to blog every day in November. I’m going to talk about my insecurities, but I’m also going to try to talk about my successes. I’m going to try to avoid the “I wonder if I even said anything in this post” (like I’m feeling right now) and “Do you guys even care?” I’m going to assume that if you’re here reading this, you care, and I’m getting my point across.  I really do value feedback. I thrive from it. Any constructive criticism (or shared experiences) is appreciated in all areas – my blog writing, my clinical experiences, my life. Please share with me 🙂

  • This article was the one I liked the most from my Google search:

http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2008_02_15/caredit.a0800025