academic fear

Fear of Failure

I’m afraid I’m going to fail a class that I am taking.  I’m not in a degree program.  I have a day job that pays some of the bills. I’m so afraid of failing the class, I can’t focus.  I can’t comprehend what I am reading…  At the moment, living feels like waiting to get a bad grade, which would be anything less than an A.  Where and how did I come to believe that anything less than an A is a failure?  Nonetheless that’s what I fear.  Anything less than an A would feel I was inadequate, not smart enough, not really the kind of student who could go onto do doctorate work and finish the degree…because I know I can start a PhD program.  Because I’ve been there and done that.  But could I get into another PhD program (when some people don’t even get into one PhD program) and finish the program?  Am I too old now?  Twenty years ago I applied to PhD programs.  Started a program the following year that I couldn’t finish.  This fall, I am planning on applying to PhD programs.  I’ve never been so uncertain of my abilities as when I think about whether I could get through a PhD program.

Only way I know how to combat failure is to pretend that I failed already.  Rather, to imagine that I failed already.  Then the rest is what I wouldn’t have had if I froze up in fear.  I’m going to imagine…

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