Have you ever felt this way? You love what you do. Really, really do. It’s not cognitive dissonance. You really do. But then comes a time where you just can’t have it anymore. Even then, you love it. But you’re really tired of it. You’re exhausted-physically, yes, but also mentally, and emotionally. Because you’re now living the dream.
I just began my final year of undergrad college, and I got the major of my choice. I should have been happy, but for the longest time in the summer, I wondered if I was worth it. Was it just by fluke that I was one of the 24 people in my class, out of the class of 100 that was last year? Was it just because people smarter than me did’t want it? Those coveted 24 seats? How on earth did I end up there? I know my grades weren’t outstanding, but they were pretty okay, and clearly improving. Did I really deserve it? Were there more deserving people not in the class because I was there, blocking that one seat I didn’t deserve?
It was a huge battle within my head, and for some reason I didn’t tell anybody for a long time. The self-doubting side was winning. Even if I did deserve the seat, how would I fare in front of the rest of the class? They are clearly at the same level, if not smarter. And what after I graduate? How would I fare there? Trying to get into grad school will obviously be a bigger struggle than getting the major of my choice. And if I had to struggle. Like, really struggle to get here, how would I fare later? So, you see, it was absolutely frustrating.
I had almost made the plan that I was going to go and tell the head of the department that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pressure. Till I remembered that she never let anybody drop the subject once she had selected them (“hand-picked” them, she said.) Basically, I was screwed. Till I realized that goddamn, I love psychology. I love it more than I loved my other subjects. And I was better at it than any of my other subjects. And I had plans for what I wanted to do for life, all revolving around psychology. It was then that I realized I was just anxious of the fact that I might not be able to cope with it. Which is so much more better than the last couple of years where I hated some of the papers I had to study, because, at 16, I made that pathetic choice for myself.
So maybe today I spend all my waking hours trying to keep up with the coursework. And maybe I get only 4 hours of sleep everyday. And maybe every night by the time I hit the bed, I am so exhausted, that I cannot even de-stress with a page of reading. And perhaps I chug 4 cups of coffee a day, thus needing a caffeine rehab asap. And maybe I need to force myself to write everything being said in class because my attention span is almost zero,and I almost doze off, and I get high on sleep deprivation every evening, and listen to hip-hop while doing my assignments, because anything slower will put me to sleep. Perhaps the time spent on public transport, which were earlier spent in gossiping and catching up on friends’ lives are now spent sleeping so deeply that fellow passengers almost always have to wake me up at the last stop. And perhaps every weekend (or its equivalent holiday/day after submission) I end up sleeping for 10-13 hours, plus naps.
But in the end, I have some confidence, it would be worth it. Because, for all the exhaustion, there is also excitement, that surpasses it all. The knowledge, the ideas, the feeling when you finally understand something you didn’t earlier, the insights, the epiphanies, the time spent in the library coming up with coherent answers, and even the pity head-shakes- they are all worth it. Because in the end, I am living the dream I have been constantly dreaming for the past five years. And no matter how much I will complain and crib, I am secretly happy, and excited, and finally, satisfied.
(Such a nerd, no?)