I suppose there are days where one just feel lost and tired. It is this sense of, being completely burnt out. What is it that I want and what is it that I have to do? This feeling of lost is intermixed with a pervasive sense of lethargy and confusion – what is the meaning behind all these essays I write and the work that I do?
I want to eschew complaining as much as I can since it is an unpleasant and unproductive habit of mine that could be irritating, especially during stressful periods. I should instead ponder through problems with the sense of maturity and responsibility that befit my age. Like what I am doing now as I type out my thoughts.
Typing out my thoughts is like trying to ascribe a sense of order to the confusion and entropy of the inner mind.
I suppose we all start out our journey knowing where we are headed, but somewhere along the journey, we get lost.
Okay, all right, so what is this lost I am talking about?
I feel lost when I am writing my research essays for literature – a feeling that is quite new to me. I think I once did it with a lot of enthusiasm and passion, perhaps even excitement because it is like another chance to prove how much you have learned and how much you knew about the text to synthesize it into an articulate piece of work.
Today I felt like I handed in an essay that I wasn’t really proud of…I suppose, and in a way, it has been partly eating away at me. It was the final research essay for my Feminism EN3245 module and although I was excited and interested about my essay topic at first, after I wrote it, I felt that something was off.
I inspected it several times over.
The language was fine. The syntax was understandable. The close reading felt sufficient. The argument felt pretty concrete. Something just felt weird…and wrong. Like it could be better.
I just didn’t know what the better was.
I felt a sense of exhaustion when I was writing the essay – like I couldn’t wait to get it over and done with. I mean, that is a pretty normal feeling since no one likes to be under the stress of work. But upon finishing it, there was a less a sense of burden and no veritable sense of accomplishment.
I felt lost.
Imagine your life being partly revolved around studying what you enjoy and you suddenly feel this vague moment of crisis when you feel that you are not good enough. And the stranger thing is, people are not going to understand this feeling when you try to explain it. They will probably ask you things like, “But, how are you doing?”
“Fine I suppose?”
“Oh, hovering around B?”
“Nah, usually A-”
A weird look will be directed your way. The look is asking you the unspoken question, “What part of you is not good enough then?”
Not passionate enough. Not interested enough. Not working enough.
I did tell my friend I left my proposal for the essay all the way to the last day and finished it, because I knew what I was going to write, but I didn’t feel the energy in me to type it out or phrase it out nicely. It shocked me beyond words to get a good grade for it (then again, our whole group got variations of A, like A+ and A- etc).
Was that proposal really that good? Why is it that a proposal I spent a night writing better than an essay I spent a week on? Does caring less means achieving more?
I think that sometimes in the pursuit of a better essay and better grade, I have been so focused on the end that I forgot to enjoy the process. I forgot the thrill of discovering the nuances in the texts and the happiness of being able to share your ideas with your professor.
I became in part obsessed with what I expected of me and not what I enjoyed.
It was when learning partially lost its meaning.