Oh, boy. The next two months promise to be one non-stop rollercoaster of paper-submitting, grant-writing, poster-making, and travel. As a graduate student, I have never had so many things on my plate at one time, and I am wondering if I am going to make it. I know deep down inside that OF COURSE I am going to make it; it's what I do. I'm a survivor. But when and where did all this self-doubt creep in? Is it because I feel like my work is never good enough? Is it because in science, we must leave room for skepticism? Is it because there is so much riding on the outcome (funding, papers, my eventual graduation) of the next two months?
When I was younger, I was very confident about my abilities. I felt like there wasn't anything in the world that I couldn't accomplish if I decided I wanted to do it. Perhaps I was overly confident in my youth, but I would not mind finding a bit of youthful confidence and energy to propel me through my work these days. It's an interesting dynamic: I am starting my fifth year of graduate school, and I actually have SKILLS now. I can examine fly locomotor behavior (oh, you didn't know I work in a fruit fly lab? Yes, it's true! And I love working with flies.), measure gene expression, look at protein levels, clone a gene, critique other people's work, and I'm learning how to write my own papers. Wouldn't it be appropriate for me to have more confidence now that I have acquired a decent set of scientific skills? That's not to say that I don't have a lot more to learn. I probably have another two years of graduate school ahead of me before I can add those three little letters to the end of my name. But I do have the determination and the grit to survive not only this season of paper-submitting and grant-writing, but also the challenges that lay ahead of me after that. I will succeed. Even if I fall many times along the way.