A random thing popped into my head this evening, after listening to some videos on learning Finnish and an automated voicemail from the Finnish Consulate General. The language tends to sound robotic, and I think it’s because of the emphasis always going on the first syllable of the word. It’s hard to tell, even with inflection, where sentences begin and end, and it doesn’t help that both statements and questions are spoken with a falling intonation. The speaker on the automated voicemail did pronounce numbers quite clearly though, so I was able to make out the telephone number and their business hours.
I’m starting to get more anxious about the move. I think I’ve been back in the states too long and have gotten comfortable in what I’m doing here at the moment. After taking almost a year off, I’m worried it’s going to be hard to get back into the swing of things. I’m trying to take some free online classes via Coursera–things like neuroanatomy and computational neuroscience, trying to keep up the information I learned last year and to fill in the gaps. The gaps are mostly in computation, and it’s mostly the gaps that give me a bad case of Imposter Syndrome. I only started learning Matlab for analysis of my M.Sc. and I don’t think I did a very good job of it. I also didn’t have any help, so I feel like my gaps have gaps. It takes so long to make enough mistakes in order to figure it out on my own and it really is embarrassing to not be able to just go in and do what I need to do. I’m a fast learner but I’m a very algorithmic thinker. I like to go through and check of every step before going to the next. I’ll copy-paste and run several similar lines of code over and over again by hand instead of using loops, just because I don’t trust myself to write them properly. I wasted a LOT of time on my M.Sc. with this sort of doing things by hand, and I ended up doing it all several times over because of mistakes or adjustments that needed to be made in early processing stages. Part of me acknowledges that I should have had more help–those things should have been caught earlier. But I also blame myself; I should have asked for help earlier–I should have confessed that I didn’t know what to do instead of trying everything on my own. And I feel like I should have known these things already.
I have a very bad habit of comparing myself to everyone else, and in my mind I will always fall short. The thing is, I set myself up for failure because I compare myself to colleagues who are not supposed to be my peers. I was doing college level work in high school, so I compared myself to college students. In college, I worked with grad students so I compared my work to theirs. In my Master’s program, I compared myself to Ph.D students and postdocs. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but it keeps happening. I think I’m so afraid of being average or less that I feel like I have to stay one step ahead of the game. The problem is, the game doesn’t work like that. It’s hard to figure out what you need to be doing when there isn’t a standard that makes sense.
Anyway, I should be getting my immigration decision soon, and I’ve started the countdown. 5 weeks.