I'm a diligent student. Am I insane?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (42 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
So, I'm having a special snowflake am-i-mental moment here. Wondering if my ‘social network for non-friends' can help me feel this one out. Right, so I'm worried I might be nuts. (background: I'm a 21 year old university student, male)
Here's the story: The other day I was chatting to a friend, and, as I was explaining why I wasn't going out to town with everyone that night, I started talking about the essay that I was writing. I told her that I'd spent about 15 hours working on it already with at least 10 to go, and she was really surprised - apparently she doesn’t know anyone who spends that much time. I started showing her the meticulous notes I'd been taking, with page-by-page quotes, annotations, and summaries, and the pages and pages I'd filled trying to work my argument out (these are 2500 word essays worth 30% for 200-level History and English papers). When I saw how stunned she was, I started to think: is there something unusual about the intense amount of work I put into school? I worry a lot about my work ethic, and in the past I'd get frustrated and disappointed with myself for missing lots of lectures, procrastinating, and putting work off. This year I have spent so much mental energy forcing myself to concentrate that I'm often exhausted, but I am finally starting to get the grades I want, consistently coming in the top-5 in my 200-level university classes.
This is the hardest I've ever worked, but I have always been really good at school. And, speaking of personal defects like arrogance, I should mention my difficulty fitting in with other people. I've never felt completely natural interacting with other people. It's not like I scream if you touch me, but I feel nervous, say the wrong thing, get into bad arguments and step on toes. I'm also thinking now that, to fix these problems, I may have started approaching relationships (platonic and otherwise) with the same microscopic intensity. I have been making a huge effort, and I do feel like I’ve lately been doing better at being friendly and personable with people.
So. I’m wondering - is this a normal story of growing up and improving yourself, or, am I some sort of... social computer, trying to pass myself off as a normal guy? Maybe a bit more background would help. I had a rough childhood with very fractious parents who split up when I was a baby, and then fought and screamed and fucked me around a lot. I was increasingly unhappy from the age of about 16 up until about the start of this year, when things got to their absolute worst. I left Medical School last year (oh yeah, I live in a non-American country with a non-American education system) and spent a year off, before coming back to school to try some arts papers. It’s helped, along with all the things I experienced and thought about during my year out. Recently, things have turned around, and I've been working to fix a lot of bits of me and my life that I didn’t like or didn’t know enought to not like about myself. It's been an improvement, but it has felt like an intense, and, sometimes, utterly overwhelming, project.
I will almost definitely talk to my therapist about this, but Askme can be really useful with these things, in a different yet complimentary manner to therapy, so I thought I'd give my non-friends a shot. Thoughts?