there was a time when i had nothing to explain
oh, this mess i have made
but then things got complicated
my innocence has all but faded
oh, this mess i have made
Ben Folds Five, "Mess"*
I suppose that there is a point in every graduate student's life when they can't take it any longer. I am not saying end it all finality, but merely quitting the program that they signed up for and as a side effect having the depression of having to rethink your entire life.
As a grad student I have spent a good amount of time being depressed. You get depressed cause during your first year of classes you have to do rotations, classes, studying to catch up with everyone else, get used to a new city, and deal with some crazy faculty members.
Word of advice for those thinking about getting a Ph.D in science: things get worse
I spent my first year totally afraid of my advisor. I originally came to the school because of one particular faculty member, and it turned out that I had major personality conflict issues with the man. I also spent the first year, after I had chosen an advisor, with a project that wasn't going to work. He tried to get me to do this ill-fated set of experiments because the outgoing graduate student had refused to do it.
Eventually, Steve Zissou (as we have taken to calling him) and I started to come to terms with each other, and all seemed peachy. Actually, I think that he just got used to having a girl in the lab that was able to get along with men on their terms.
I think that I am suffering from depression from lab work. Older students have told me that this is normal. They have told me that lab life is going to seem like one big mistake, and then in a flash of light everything you have done is going to fit together.<\p>
I don't remember why I am here. I spend all day in lab, all night thinking about lab, I spend sleep time dreaming about lab, but I don't seem to have anything to show for it. The worst part about it is that others think I have plenty.<\p>
Steve comes in on a regular basis and tells us stories about his children and how he longs to be five again. I want to be five again. I want to figure out what to do with my life. I want a second chance.<\p>
Joy has become non-existent for me. My life has become a string of failed experiments. My advisor has quit advising me. My head a jumble of facts and figures. My dreams are the things I see at the end of the microscope.<\p>
"Mess" has become my new theme song. I no longer have the eyes of an innocent child. I fear that I have become a jaded, crotchety old woman. I fear that as soon as the shit hit the fan and I started having to think for myself I made the wrong decision.
I hope I am wrong about all of this.<\small>