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Hand me a paper bag [Academic FOMO]

I periodically encounter articles about coping with anxiety in various contexts. While I don't think I'm on the extreme end of the spectrum, I *do* think I'm close to the border that defines clinical anxiety. This manifests in internal arguments between a part of myself that gets super-worried and worked up about certain things, and another part of me that goes, in response, "Why are you so worked up? It's counterproductive."

So I really do feel for those of you who find yourselves further off the charts.


I read this little commentary piece the other day that someone wrote about "Academic FOMO" (that's Fear Of Missing Out). The piece annoyed me because I had hoped the author would talk about a related feeling I get. When I go to a big conference and hear about all of the awesome work that other people are doing, especially when it's closely related to work that I'm doing, a big part of my reaction is anxiety. I want to do ALL THE SCIENCE, and know ALL THE THINGS, but I can't. The commentary piece was restricted to a different direction because the author is one of those people who signs up for too many things and then can't do everything well. So the experiences are related but not quite the same.

In general, I know these feelings are a phase, and that I will work my way back out of them and back into a more productive zone. I also know that I'm just one human being, so I've made my lists of things to do, and have prioritized them, and am going through them one-by-one. Obviously I'm in a tough spot because of a whole host of competing demands right now, but one way or another life will go on.

But I also absolutely NEED to stay on top of exercise and life outside of academics. I hear this refrain repeated over and over again by fellow academics.


( 1 remark — Remark )
Oct. 5th, 2016 08:43 pm (UTC)
I have to imagine that academia is a harrowing place to be for anyone with even a little tendency toward anxiety, as it's a uniquely competitive and outcome-driven environment, with extremely restricted options for advancement.

In my world, I mostly reassure myself by telling myself that I am quite mediocre, no one is expecting great things of a generalist, and I should be happy with the anonymous and non-world-changing successes that I've already had.

This is not healthy, but it keeps me off the edge of the cliff while I figure out something better.

( 1 remark — Remark )

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