As I face my second round of midterms (starting tomorrow morning!), I'm reminded of the importance of confidence. For someone who found college to be somewhat easy and only sorta time consuming, this first semester of graduate school has been rough. I've never been the type of person who started their homework on the day it was assigned or spent days studying for one exam, but it seems necessary just to keep up. (Also the thought of having four classes next semester instead of three, while continuing to work, is slightly horrifying, but thats beside the point of this post.)
I'm sure I'm not the only person in my program who has wondered if I'm smart enough for grad school. At that point (like when they are handing back a test where the average score was close to 50%) our professors like to remind us that we would not have been admitted if the admissions committee wasn't confident in our ability to succeed. I try to keep this in mind and I find that the confidence boost does help me study a little bit longer, or just put down the computer and enjoy a few hours relaxing.
... and then I struggle to write a paper that is beyond what I would call high school level words because it seems my writing skills stuck around for me to get a Bachelors degree and then called it quits. Then I start to question the admissions committee decision. So then I have to rely on my backup confidence booster, which is to tell myself that also getting a fellowship means they thought I was more than just capable of passing, but also of doing really well.
(Which gets me through finishing a paper, but I'm wondering what will get me through finals? The promise of winter break?)
I always knew confidence was important but until now I thought of it more for little kids. That "you can do it, believe in yourself" encouragement that they have to learn to get through learning how to walk, running a mile in gym class, and standing up for themselves. I guess I had internalized it and forgot about it, but good to know that long ago learned confidence is still there and capable of propelling me a little bit further towards completing something.