Burnt Out and General Feelings of Inadequacy

There are only a few weeks left of school and I am in my final projects and papers portion in each of my classes. I know that finals weeks are generally the hardest and I loved this in undergrad because I would put in so much work in papers and (usually) get good grades at the end of it.

I was lucky in undergrad because I was an English major, so there weren’t many final exams. I am usually horrible at tests (hence why I became an English major — mostly papers and no exams!)

This semester I’m lucky again because I don’t have any final exams, just two projects, and two papers. I don’t know if this is typical for every program in grad school so I am just going with it. I’ve been submitting some work that we can scaffold into our final projects and until today I was feeling really great about everything because I finally get to work on things that I am interested in and, of course, I’m almost done with everything!

I submitted an outline to one of my core classes and I only got a B+ and I KNOW that a B+ is not a bad grade and, as my therapist says, one grade is not a reflection of how I am as a student or a person, but why does it sting so badly that I’m literally writing a blog post about it?! The good thing about paying like $300+ a year for a blog is that I can write whatever I want, but I feel like I’m always in crisis mode about my own erratic feelings.

I don’t know if it was this grade that set me off, but even as I type this post while my Zoom class continues on in the background, I have major imposter syndrome. Everyone is already working or they’re experts in their field or they are working towards getting a job and I’m trying to figure out how I can trick my brain into blogging consistently so that I can organically grow my site.

I feel like I’m not going to have as much fun on the paper now that I got a B+ on the outline because I can’t say everything I want in only 5000 words, but I’m going to do it the way the professor wants because I’d rather get an A than actually challenge the professor in this particular class because she just happens to be the program’s executive officer as well. I don’t love this class because I feel like the professor takes the older students more seriously and I’m honestly tired of seeing racist iconography over and over so the white students are given the opportunity to unpack it. I know that not every class is going to be great in grad school and this is honestly just something that even my advisor said you just have to bite the bullet and get it over with!

But let’s be real, I want to get it over with AND get an A in this course. I mean, I’ve been trying to manifest A’s in all four of my courses, I’ve handed in all my work on time, and my professor admitted that she does grade a little more harshly, but now I am genuinely concerned that I am not doing well in this class and I know nothing in any of my classes and I’m a big dummy and no one takes me seriously and I’m not impressive and no one reads my blog and I’ll never get a book deal because I can never actually finish anything worth publishing!

Every time I get a grade lower than an A- I immediately want to drop out of school. What am I doing here in academic purgatory? My end game is a book deal, right? I am just doing this because I have nothing better to do. I’m here to learn. Then, if I’m getting what I want out of school, why do I feel so unhappy when I don’t get an A?

Was undergrad really that much easier than grad school? Did I really expect an A on that outline? Actually, I expected an A- and I’m not sure if this particular thing was graded harshly or if she means it!

I’m definitely going to talk about this in therapy tomorrow. Yes, I literally use my therapy sessions to stop me from freaking out about an average grade. I’ve never felt like anything less than an A student unless my environment affected my learnin’ in some way. But now my environment is perfect and my grades aren’t perfect, so maybe I’m not actually as smart as I originally thought I was and I really doubt myself and my future if I’m not getting A’s.

Something I definitely do feel proud of is that I’ve stayed organized and made all of my deadlines, but now I feel like if I put in less effort into everything then I would have gotten just as crappy grades that reflected my lackluster writing skills and I’ll still get my Master’s degree in two years.

Honestly, I’m in a good place work-wise and have a good plan to finish everything and I’m trying to make myself not care about the grades but it’s soooo hard. I am burnt out AF and I can’t wait for this semester to be over so I don’t ever have to think about the damn World’s Fairs ever again. 😭

Okay, back to class. >.<

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