High School Self.

High School Self

I was made aware of this article on why we never leave high school and why that’s actually not good news for many of us. It mentions one of my current favorite books ‘Daring Greatly’ and Dr. Brown’s research. 
That thought terrifies me. I think that it might well be true. If I think back to my high school self, it is much like I am now. If High School was where I was supposed to learn how to interact with people, I dont’ think I did very well. It’s something I struggle with daily. I did my best to stay invisible- for fear (somewhat legitimate) that being noticed would lead to bad things- something I still tend to think too often. This blog is supposed to help with that. Stick my neck out…

I suppose there is one good thing: I survived. 

Which brings me to this…

Buffy

I have been watching ‘Buffy, The Vampire Slayer’ lately, which got me thinking about high school even more. For those who aren’t familiar, Joss Whedon took the concept of the motion picture and turned it into a great television series. It supposes a world where magic, vampires and demons invade Sunnydale, CA and they often serve as metaphors for surviving high school. The show is funny, smart, awesome and a lot of fun. Most of the characters are well developed too. And of course, it takes me back to the 90’s…when I was youngish.

In a quite literal way, the characters (especially Buffy) slays demons. Even the demons have demons at times. 

The first few seasons deal with the high school years. There’s a plot where a girl literally becomes invisible- a lot like I felt. It is a show very good at portraying all kinds of outsiders- as well as the impostor syndrome, depression, and anxiety…and of course fighting through all of these things. 

Breaking Bio

Because of Twitter, I discovered The Breaking Bio Podcast, and apparently video blog. Episode 13 is with @JacquelynGill, a paleoecologist and blogger and short term postdoc who has a faculty position nearly straight away- the hosts of the podcast are all youngish postdocs…compared to me who feels like an ancient in postdoc years. It was a good discussion a large group of internationally located people had about her research, impostor syndrome (which clearly many of the hosts have dealt with and at least gotten past to some extent), and women in science- and how they might be more prone to feeling like impostors. While I can’t speak to that part, I know that I have never really felt comfortable in academia. I’m getting slightly more comfortable, but don’t feel that connected- in any aspect of my life. 

One of the things they talked about was the fact that being desperate in any avenue of life won’t help you get anything. It’s an odd thing…the more relaxed you can be, and yet engaged and caring at the same time, the more successful you’ll be in dating or in job interviewing. I know I’ve been way too high strung for way too long; I’ve been trying to be more relaxed and am, but of course, it doesn’t seem like it’s enough. 

I’m introverted, high anxiety and perfectionist. And feel rather desperate too often…recipe for success, it’s not. To be clear, that first trait doesn’t make me less qualified, just viewed as less desirable in the United States at least…where the focus is on interacting with as many people as possible. 

Forward

I’m trying to stay positive even though that’s difficult..it’s not exactly like a world ending apocalypse on ‘Buffy’, but feels that way a little bit. I’m currently not all that successful professionally or personally. I’d like that to change of course, but my own brain seems to have some very strong walls against that notion. 

I can feel cracks forming in my walls, but they certainly aren’t anywhere close to structural failure. 

And with that, I am going to bed. 


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Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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