I left the meeting feeling like a fraud and I was quite convinced that Cambridge made a mistake in admitting me.
Apparently, I know nothing about what I thought I knew. I have to fine-tune my research proposal and basically come up with a research question because I don't have one. My proposal contains so many broad concepts and I don't know what I want to focus on; I feel like I want to do everything. This is also true for the Asian Constitutional Law forum conference in Singapore, which my supervisors advised me against because I haven't even written the paper yet. Seriously, when is my retarded laziness going to stop fucking up my life? I should've written it in Singapore. I didn't. Now I don't have time to do it and I am going to miss a really good opportunity, all because I am so fucking lazy. Is it any wonder that I hate myself sometimes?
Anyway. Enough of the negativity. In all honesty, I was feeling rather down and discouraged after the meeting, but of course, that's entirely due to what John said over coffee about how we've been praised our whole lives and are not used to criticism. For someone who actively avoids facing criticism, this was definitely a steep learning curve; but it's necessary. Criticism is necessary. I will grow as a person and as a wannabe-academic. This is all good for me. Everything will be great.
I really appreciate that one of my supervisors is super organised and on-the-ball. She emailed me after the meeting summarising the meeting. During the induction yesterday, we were told to do exactly that - email our supervisor(s) summarising whatever we discussed. Instead, she emailed me to summarise. It is pretty incredible. I can tell that she's going to push me a lot, which is scary but also good for me because I definitely need to be pushed.
I also need to come up with some sort of plan. After laundry and gym tomorrow morning, I'm going to sit down somewhere quiet and properly think through how I'm going to do this. My biggest worry right now is that I won't make it past the first year, and trust me, I definitely do not want to be one of the 20 people that don't make it to the full PhD.
I was in a really bad mood when I got back to the house, but dinner at the hall (my first time eating at the hall! Oh my god it was ignominious) with Daniel and some others that we ran into, i.e. Dominic and his friends, and a relaxing chat in the kitchen with other housemates, put me in a better mood. I am really glad to be living here with these people. It is a very collegiate and friendly and casual environment, and I think I would go crazy without this daily guarantee of human contact. I definitely made the right choice when I took the easy option of going for college accommodation.
Also, I had a short IM chat with Georgios on Skype. I actually really wanted to talk to him for obvious reasons. He was in the middle of a paper (as usual) but he spent some time talking to me about my meeting with the supervisors. All I can say is...why can't he live in my room or something and recite motivational messages to me whenever I feel shitty? He has an uncannily soothing effect on me.
Him: all of them
Some sound advice:
Me: What's another way? I feel like I want to do everything
Him: that’s normal
read everything that you get your hands on
go to talks
talk with your advisors
think about what is your passion
A really apt analogy:
It[']s like Federer and tennis
And finally, something quite sweet:
at least a bit
Me: what if I don't get to that stage
I mean, I am not like you
Him: No worries
Me: you are like super focused
Him: Not quite
Me: not quite?
Him: I dropped working on my paper to chat with you
so I am making my concessions
for things that matter