People who know me will be surprised to know that there were times when I would question my academic abilities. Times when I asked myself why? Why I kept on studying, moving onto the next level and then the next and then to complete a PhD, while working fulltime and raising my son.
I can assure you it was not planned, it was simple determination to do the best I could and acquire qualifications. I enjoy learning and I like to study. I am one of those people who will happily attend any kind of training because there is always something new to learn.
But yet, I still had doubts about studying, whether my work would be good enough, or if I would fit in.
My Grandmother told me when I was a child I could achieve anything I put my mind to. So when my careers officer told me I was not academic enough to go to college and study A-levels. I remembered what good old Grandma told me and applied anyway.
These feelings of self-doubt reared it’s ugly head while I was preparing for my PhD upgrade. I wrote this poem to articulate my anxiety and get it out of my system, so I could prepare for my mini viva.
The academic world is not for me,
I cannot imagine how it would feel.
To associate with scholars, educationalists and the elite.
Is it really for me?
My phantasy scares me
I am confronted with fears,
The threat of exclusion, criticism and isolation,
Is too much for me to bear.
The source of my anxiety,
Was planted a long time ago.
Like a mustard seed buried in undergrowth.
The world of academia has aroused strong and mixed feelings inside.
It has awakened my anxiety which was hidden deep inside my mind.
And now it is attacking me from the insides.
What will I do, to overcome this trial?
It’s the institutions fault,
I don’t belong here,
I will project my anxieties and fears outside.
I will embrace the shield passed down to me.
Endurance, resistance and strength.
To masquerade my tears and persevere.
© Dr Marcia Thomas, 2008