Saturday, April 11, 2009

Venting and De-Stressing are Crucial!

Occasionally in graduate school you feel frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed, undervalued, or some other negative feeling. Generally, graduate students vent about this sort of thing to friends, significant others, or family members. Venting is a very good idea, as it will help you get over it (from putting it out there), see that you're not the only one to ever feel that way (depending on who you vent to), and find a way to move on. It's very hard to be productive when you are overrun with these types of feelings!

Another graduate student in my lab and I have been meeting for lunch each Friday this semester, which we have dubbed something like "weekly-special-psychotherapy-lunch." We are friends as well as co-workers, but we don't see each other much during the week as we don't both tend to work in the same room. So every Friday we find out how the other person's week has been going, give suggestions for how to deal with spoken and unspoken issues, and give overall encouragement. Sometimes I don't even realize exactly what is holding me back from getting something done until I have to verbalize it to someone who isn't my fiance. Yes, complaining to my fiance is my usual way of dealing with stress, but it's very good to have other venues to let it out! A more objective viewpoint (or at least a viewpoint perceived to be more objective) can be very helpful.

Why am I writing this? Well, I think too often people (especially women) bottle it all up inside. Eventually you will start seeing the world in a different way than it really is, and that's when you really start to wonder if you should be doing what you are doing with your life. The answer is almost always "YES, you SHOULD!" but too often we convince ourselves otherwise. Like I said in my last post, a little encouragement goes a long way, and we should always keep that in mind for ourselves and others. Even people who appear to be succeeding can easily be second guessing themselves, or so frustrated with a project they can't see straight. If you are that person, or you friend/co-worker is that person, I highly recommend a weekly special psychotherapy lunch!

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