immiserable (immiserable) wrote in gradschool_hell,

On not surviving.

I am sorry for using an empty account. At this point I am so humiliated and defeated that I have resorted to lying to everyone I care about what's actually happening to me and so I don't want to associate this post with my real lj name that, consequently, virtually everyone I know in RL knows about and reads.

As an undergrad I was completely unstoppable as I imagine many of those reading were. I went to a school that is routinely as a top five institution (and often top three depending on the ranking) in the world. It was hyper competitive and large and I fought hard to distinguish myself. I was invited to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, and by the time I graduated I had three publications, one of which was in a discipline other than my two majors. I had a 4.0 in both majors and a 3.9 overall. My GRE scores were the envy of my peers. I had worked with some of the top minds in the world doing original research and they all wrote me glowing letters of recommendation. I was applied to only the top grad schools in my discipline, I was accepted to all five. I went to my first choice with 6 years of full funding.

I don't mention any of this to brag, for all these "accomplishments" are completely meaningless. I mention it only to illustrate that I was, at one time anyway, a good student by most standards. I was hard working, motivated and somewhat smart. However, graduate school for me, from about half way through my first semester has been one big fight to stay sane and healthy.

I've been here for two years and in those two years I've had more than a few complete mental breakdowns, I usually have such a high level of anxiety that the mere thought of school makes me want to just crawl into bed, curl up into a little ball and disappear. I often throw up around finals time without warning. I've dropped an unhealthy amount of weight and I when I sleep, especially towards the end of each semester I usually have anxiety dreams and wake up sweating with my heart racing.

Nothing I've ever produced here has warranted praise or even approval, if I'm lucky I'm met with indifference but more often than not I'm met with scorn. It doesn't matter how hard I try or how much I work, I'm never good enough. I am a straight B student. Most recently I received an e-mail from the head of my department (and a total big name who does what I want to do) telling me that the paper I produced for his class (which I had talked to him in depth about) was something he might expect from an undergraduate and not even an advanced one. And even though I was a prime contributor in his class, he gave me a grade that dropped my already suffering GPA below the acceptable level for me to keep my funding (3.5). In other words, I am completely screwed.

I don't know what to do.  My life, my dreams and all my priorities have been completely dismantled in the last two years. My peers have all but completely left me behind and the worst part of this is that I'm so embarrassed that I feel like I can't tell anyone. Not my family, not my friends and not my girlfriend. Everyone expected so much of me, and I can't help but feel like a disappointment on everyone. I have no other prospects. Just a useless MA in a horrible economy and more debt than I care to think about.

I'm not asking for anyone's pity. I know full well that I caused all this ruin, I just desperately needed to tell someone what's happening to me without having to omit major parts of the story. So, thanks for reading. Also, I'm still trying to determine whether or not this is survivable. If anyone else has been in a situation and had a happy ending? I just don't know what the right move to make it anymore.


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