Confessions of a Procrastinating, Anxiety-Driven Grad Student

It’s been a long year, but I’m finally back.  Due to the demands of school and work and some scary, stressful situations earlier this year, I just haven’t had the heart to write.  At all.

For my particular graduate program, the expected completion time is two years.  I will soon be entering my third year.  Many of my fellow graduate cohort have already walked in the graduation ceremony and have finished or are finishing their thesis.  Meanwhile, I haven’t even started on mine.  As I watch them move on with their lives, I feel like I’m being left behind and that I will never finish mine.

Image from Google Images.

Image from Google Images.

If things had gone according to plan, I would have completed my research last summer and have been writing all this past year.  But due to a car accident, which occurred right after presenting my thesis for advancement to candidacy, I ended up with a painful back injury and spent the majority of 2 months in bed.  The pain and depression were too much for me and I couldn’t make myself work on my thesis.  The longer I didn’t work on it, the less desire I had to do so.  It was a downward spiral from there.

I am already a major procrastinator by nature, so this of course was amplified thanks to my depression and injury.  My mood started to pick up once I got a new job and school started again.  I was hopeful that I would be able to pick up where I left off and still get things done by next year.  That didn’t last very long.  My time was constantly taken up by classes and work and I found very little time to also work on my thesis.  Once again it was placed on the back burner, simmering away for about 10 months.

Now it’s summer again and I have the chance to work on my thesis.  Unfortunately it’s been so long since I have worked on it that I feel like I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore.  I will have to relive and relearn that whole first year of grad school all over again.  A daunting task that has my already high levels of anxiety shooting through the atmosphere.

I hate to admit it, but I’m terrified.  Terrified of not finishing the graduate program.  Terrified of being stuck in this eternal limbo of trying to start my research yet not being able to get past the first hurdle of getting my IRB (Institutional Review Board) application completed and approved.  I am utterly and deeply terrified of being a failure.  Yet I still can’t make myself move forward.  My anxiety and depression are waging a war within me.  I want to write this thesis, but I don’t know how.

Image from my thesis presentation.

Image from my thesis presentation.

But hope, or should I say denial, springs eternal.  This past semester I finished the last of the classes I needed to get a GIS (Geographic Information Science) certificate (I’m getting this along with my Master’s degree).  So this semester I will not be taking any classes, which means no distractions or excuses.  It’s thesis or bust.  Maybe now I’ll be able to overcome my fear and get things done.  Or perhaps sheer boredom alone will drive me to do it.

I’m hoping my first step in that direction will be this blog.  Because the past year’s classes were all computer-driven, I’ve barely done any writing, for school or at home.  Working on this blog again will get me writing again.  And that may encourage and inspire me to not only write about geography-related issues but also bring back the excitement and desire to learn and research my thesis topic.

My blog may not be the biggest and the best, but it helps me talk about issues I love and provides my readers with information that I hope increases their knowledge of the world and entertains them as well.

Logo created by Laylita Day.

Logo created by Laylita Day.

I was considering quitting this blog since technically I have more important things to work on, but in the end I didn’t want this to be another one of my failed blogs.  I’ve created four blogs since that journalism class so many years ago that required a blog as an assignment.  Only this one has managed to survive.  I’ve written posts every year since 2013 and I’m not quite ready to let it go.  After all, I’m still a geography student with geography adventures to tell.

I also have goals I would love to reach to help inspire me to keep going.  I hope to reach 100 posts by the end of the year.  I have 78 published posts so far.  I would love to reach 50,000 views/visitors as well.  I currently have about 31,000 views and 22,000 visitors.  Seeing how this blog has grown over the past 4 years has really inspired me to keep writing and sharing my love of geography.  If you love geography, food, travel and writing as much as I do, please share this blog with others.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you enjoy my future posts.

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