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Graduate Student Guilt: Epidemic or imagination?

 

 

It took a couple of weeks to get settled after the holiday break, but I’m back in classes and into the swing of the second semester.

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This cute little cat with the tasteful beret (come to think of it, it’s kind of a raspberry color…) really epitomizes the spirit of those first two weeks.  I’ve been in a state of constant vigilance since the start of the semester, and it has been a little trying.  Getting used to new classes, expectations and a fresh schedule has required my full attention.  But I think I’ve come down with something.  A few other members of my cohort have shown symptoms as well.  I’m not sure what the prognosis looks like, but I think I’ve got a little thing called “Graduate Student Guilt”.

GSG is described as, “a hyper-vigilant state in which otherwise reasonable graduate students are irrationally and illogically anxious and nervous about phantom commitments, imagined assignment due dates and fictitious upcoming exams.”

GSG is most common in first year graduate students, however it has been diagnosed in 10th year All-But-Dissertation (ABD) doctoral students.  While the sufferer tends to believe a steady diet of caffeine and Tostino’s Hot-Pockets to be the cure, GSG has best been treated through a series of rational discussions with a significant other (also known as “talking off the ledge”) and long hours of rest.  This condition is more frequently diagnosed at the beginning of academic terms.

I’m still in the early stages of this affliction, and my outlook is uncertain.  I’m remaining positive and we’ll see how it progresses.  I’ve got a great support system.  I’ve actually been lucky enough to encounter many individuals who have successfully made it through their battles with GSG.  Overall, they still seem pretty neurotic, but I remain optimistic.  Wish me luck, friends…

Have you ever experienced GSG? Any advice for current grad students who occasionally feel the crushing pressure?  Share your insight in the comments!

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One response

  1. Joansie

    Good luck G- I don’t know how you do it! You’re a Grad Student Guilt Ghost Face Killah!

    January 25, 2014 at 10:15 pm

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