Well, following the recommendation of my boss in the Writing Center, I just submitted a proposal for the PCACA 2018 National Conference. My proposed paper/presentation would be a truncated version of my thesis that covers the same topics, but less extensively than I intend for the thesis. I’m feeling sick with anxiety right now, and I’m not even sure why. I think my proposal was reasonably well-written, and I obviously have faith in my topic if I’m devoting my whole thesis to it… I think I’m nervous because this makes my thesis real. It’s not just an idea limited to class and a handful of social media contacts anymore. Now there’s a record of it at some big academic-y warehouse of smart stuff curated by smart people who are smarter than me, and they’re going to see right through me to the fact that I know nothing. Never have I felt more like that Golden Retriever in the lab coat.
I’m afraid that they’ll reject and laugh at my proposal. On the other hand, I’m equally afraid of getting accepted; then I’ll have to have a full mini-thesis done by March! What if I fuck up? What if I can’t meet that deadline, or I get to the conference and just freeze. Or collapse into a shuddering pile of “Yeah, it’s like, you know, and stuff”?
I know this was a step toward my goals for this research, and that’s good. That’s huge! But it just makes me feel so vulnerable, small, and stupid… I’ve never even felt this way when submitting fiction to journals or lit mags. Yes, there’s always the fear of judgment and failure, but this is somehow five times worse and more intense. Am I not cut out for academia? What if I fail so miserably that I become a meme?
Okay, academia. Is this what you wanted?! I’m gonna go hug myself in a corner now.