At the beginning of this month I had a very relaxed interview with a professor I admire greatly. She was looking for 2-3 research assistants for her current project, and I was one of the ten students asked to apply.
Let me just say: this is something I have dismissed ever happening since my first semester of college! I’d go on the school website and see various headlines about research assistant experiences, and before every semester there are emails sent out about how great research assistant positions look when you graduate and looking for a “real-life” job.
This was something I daydreamed about but never wasted too much time on, because it definitely wasn’t going to happen.
So, when I got the email asking if I was interested (at 10:00 at night late August), I freaked out. Just a little… (I ran through the house telling everyone, ran back into my room, sat on the bed and basically cried, jumped back out of bed and ran around the house to talk about it again to everyone, and then laid awake for another two hours with adrenaline shooting through me.)
Describing myself as “excited” does not hit anywhere near the level of emotion I was feeling.
What else did I do?
Talked nonstop about, “What if I don’t get it?”
Plus had three dreams about being told I didn’t get the job…
I was so ready to just accept the mindset of, “Well, at least I got asked,” and ready myself for disappointment. Why? Because I wasn’t experienced enough, she didn’t know me enough, these just aren’t the things that happen to me, this reason, that reason–
Any reason I could come up with for me not being worthy enough to get this job was imagined and accepted.
It was a two week battle of constantly replacing those thoughts with reasons why I WAS worth the position! I had to be at the ready with positive, confidence-building thoughts to dis-empower the self-hate talk that had been waiting to launch its assault.
And you know what? The self-hate was wrong (as usual), and I got the position.
A goal I never let formulate because it seemed too out of reach–too good–for a student like me has been achieved.
An opportunity I assumed only available to students that had reached a level of awesome and prestige was given to me, and now I own the “awesome and prestige” I thought I never encapsulated.
But what if I hadn’t gotten the job? What if I was turned down for good reasons and sent back to stay at the art gallery? Would I be not worthy of that job? Not good enough for it? Would I not be an awesome and “prestigious” student?
And I wish I could have seen that before holding the title of “research assistant.”
I wish the understanding for how wrong my self-destructing thoughts always (!!!) are was constantly at the forefront of my mind.
It’s so easy, now that I have the job, to wave a hand and exclaim, “Well, of course I would still be amazing and intelligent and all of the things, because the job doesn’t make me that! It’s just a cool opportunity!”
And it is a SUPER cool opportunity, but had I not gotten the job it would have taken me a little longer to claim myself as “awesome and prestigious.” And I still wouldn’t describe myself or my college career as “prestigious.” (I really hate that word.)
Because I have been taught to downgrade myself, and so have you.
You and I haven’t been shown how to look at ourselves as worthy of everything we want.
And I might recognize these perverted facts, but it doesn’t mean it makes it easier to feel the worth I own.
I must be active in seeking out that knowledge.
The knowledge of my whole and absolute worth.
I must be critical of what words I describe myself with.
The words I speak to others.
I must remember such words in the times that I am turned down; the times I don’t get the position.
And I must remember that I can totally achieve what I think I never will, because I just did it.
I want you to remember this, too.
Because I wholeheartedly believe in you.
What dreams are you ignoring? What are the goals you secretly have?