Monday, February 27, 2006

I'm so close to just completely losing it.

On the surface, today should be a very good day. My in-laws took me to breakfast and slipped me $100 for my birthday and my husband will probably take me out to dinner. I got roped into presenting a poster at a prospective student open house and came away with the best poster prize (another $100). Everybody is saying nice things about me and well, nothing's literally fallen on my head or broken my leg or anything. And I generally love my birthday...a day all about me!

But today there's an undercurrent of stress and anxiety that I just can't get away from. I was feeling OK on Friday but I got no work done and no down time this weekend since Business Man's parents were here. We had a nice time but I felt like I had to be a good hostess and put on a good face the whole time, when all I really wanted to do was just stress out in peace (if that makes any sense).

My mom called at 7 this morning to wish my happy birthday but also to tell me that she wanted to run me through a practice interview at some point this week. A sweet gesture, but when she listed some example questions I had no idea what to say. How am I possibly going to come across as a promising young professor if I haven't the foggiest idea what my best classroom moment has been? And I know that a coaching session would be really valuable but I just don't think I can take it from my mom. That's too many roles mixed into one.

I feel like I've been presenting this marvelous facade: "Oh, look at how well she's doing. She's a productive researcher with an interview at Big School. And she's going to defend soon...and her house is immaculate and she crafts and practices yoga and does outreach with teachers. Oh, and she's so organized...let's ask her to take on this project because we know she'll do a really good job with it...and when is she going to have that paper submitted?..."

But this week and last week that facade has been showing a few chinks. Some random remark is liable to completely cause me to crumble. And I have crumbled and cried a few times in select company. But I am terribly afraid that I am going to fall apart at the wrong time in the wrong company or that the next time I'm going to fall apart and not be able to put myself back together again before the interview. I just feel like I am driving a car at full speed with no headlights on an icy road. Everything's OK at this exact moment but the any one of the next moments could be disastrous.


B said...

S. W. -
I can understand where you are coming from. You have so much going on, that the normal fun stuff of being polite and having fun (for your Bday) is actually strenuous as all you can think about is X, Y, Z waiting to get done. It probably means you need to take the time YOU need to de-stress. Only do what is absolutely neccesary for NOW and leave the other stuff till later (like after your fantastic inteview!) Focus on what needs to be done and let go of the other 'stuff,' it will be there when you get back. Refocus your energy on what you feel is most important, people will understand. (of course this is just my two cents :)
You will make it! Cry if you need too-just find a friend who doesn't mind a sobby shoulder. Sometimes a good 'breakdown' w/ a good listener is all you need to rebuild.
Best of luck!

Jane said...

Think of it this way: You've been preparing for this interview during your entire grad school career. You're ready for it. Really. If this school has invited you for an interview, it means they already think you're a most excellent person. So all you have to do is be your most excellent self, speak from your heart, and make sure that *you* interview *them* too. You're ready, and you'll do fabulously!

PhD Mom said...

Well, on a positive note $200 is definately enough for a massage, just a thought. I know how stressful it can be to be finishing your defense, putting together papers, and prepping for interviews. I was in exactly your situation two years ago and I was a nervous wreck. I actually threw-up before a couple of my interviews (although that might have been morning sickness, but I never had it any other time so probably just the interview). What I can tell you is that you WILL finish your degree, your almost done! And I have a feeling you will do really well on your interview as well. I know it is impossible to relax, so I won't tell you to. Best of luck!!

ScienceWoman said...

Thanks for your kind words and good advice. I think I will try to book a massage for Saturday. And my yoga today will help get me through today.

RageyOne said...

Happy Birthday!

Sorry you are feelings so blah on your birthday. I have a feeling you will surprise yourself. I think we all have some self-doubt when we don't know what to expect. I tend to agree with Jane, you've been preparing for this for a while and you will do just fine.

Sending good thoughts to sciencewomanland.

Doctor Free-Ride, Ph.D. said...

Hey ScienceWoman, belated happy birthday! (It was mine, too -- I was studiously avoiding grading.)

I'm sure you will do much better with your interview than you think.