zoloft and graduate schoolThe Chronicle of Higher Education recently had an article on failure and graduate school . I don't think any of my friends lying outside of this myopic enclave of intellectual boot-camp-style socialization can understand the endemic uncertainty and fear that pierces through the hearts of my fellow kin . And me.
This holds true not just at UCLA, but in other campuses as well:
Perhaps such figures help explain the recent finding that "depression and other forms of mental distress" were a serious problem in a study of more than 3,100 graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley. According to the study: "Nearly half of all survey respondents (45 percent) reported an emotional or stress-related problem that significantly impacted their academic performance or well-being." Another 67 percent reported feeling hopeless at times, 95 percent felt overwhelmed in graduate school, and 54 percent said they had felt so "depressed that it was difficult to function." About 10 percent had seriously considered suicide, and one in 200 had actually attempted suicide in the last year.
I don't know yet if I'm in the 54% group [insert pregnant pause] yet -- I hope not -- but I certainly lie in the 67% and 95% groups.
Anyway, this article is depressing and I have to admit, at times, as the article so dramatically spells out, so is grad school. And I don't think the pursuit of knowledge should be. Sometimes it's important to remember why we came to grad school, and not lose the forest for the trees . I'm not sure how reform would or could work, but something needs to be done to change academic culture in some way. Either that or market Zoloft to me. I'd probably buy it.
 Thanks to Delayed Reaction for pointing it out.
 Most of my fellow kin. I just remembered that there are cocky people out there. Sometimes their bravado masks uncertainty and fear, but sometimes, sometimes, it doesn't. Those are the annoying ones which we don't like. We don't envy them either, because worse than endemic uncertainty, we recognize, is the folly of constant certainty.
 I know this is wishful thinking with my qualifying exams looming. If they were a tree, they would certainly be the most gianormous redwood in all the land. But once they are over, maybe I can climb the redwood and see the forest? Okay my metaphors are getting longer and more nonsensical. On a totally related and yet wholly unrelated note, I recently mixed metaphors in an email: "Ben is flaky, where we'll spend a bunch of time hanging out and then he'll sort-of disappear. But I do that too, so I am not calling the kettle black when I'm throwing stones gathering moss in glass houses."