Why do we care what people think about us? Why do we go through life always trying to fit in? Why do we let people treat us any less than we deserve? I never really felt out of place when I was in college and I think that had to do with how active I was in the MSA and other groups I was part of, but also because of the MANY friends that made me feel loved. I hung out with a few select people from school and I had my own tight group of best friends outside, so I never really noticed what others thought of me. But now, many years later, as I am in this PhD program struggling to find myself, I feel like the outsider, I feel ignored, I feel inconsequential. I guess it some ways it's my own fault. I'm not as social as I used to be. Maybe its marriage, maybe its age, maybe its the lack of energy at the end of the day, maybe its because I don't have a good group of friends, maybe its because i'm so busy. But what I do know is that I have become more sensitive to what others think of me (or maybe I haven't and never really realized it). I over analyze each look, each word, each reaction and get so hurt. I do it to everyone now...why do I care???
I know its petty, but when you are sitting in a room and you see your classmates walk in, some of which you helped and worked on projects with, and they ignore you like you're some speck of dust in the air, and sit clear across the room form you, it does hurt. You say hi, and you get a half smile. How do you not let that get to you?
I think if I were more confident in myself, and really felt as though I knew what the heck I was doing in this program, I wouldn't feel this way. Everyone else feels so much more accomplished than me. Everyone else seems to have what they want. I can barely get my research to work. I can barely stay afloat and maybe the fact that I wear hijab makes me more sensitive. But I never used to let that get to me, why now? Maybe all this anti-muslim propaganda is starting to get under my skin.
I don't like them anyways, is what I keep telling myself. But then the words of a professor on my qualifying panel resonates in my head: "You need to make sure you keep in touch with your peers, especially since you're off campus, otherwise you will have a hard time". That's all I can think of when I notice how I am not a part of the "social" sphere here on campus. Having my lab off campus of course definitely doesn't help, but what am I to do? I feel lost, I feel stuck, I feel like i'm drowning.
I've become so competitive in the last few months. I used to bend over backwards to help others but now, I don't want to help anyone, I don't want to see the classmates I don't like succeed. I don't want to see some of my own lab members succeed. A new MD, PhD student in my lab is the golden boy in and he DOES NOTHING, is never around, and yet my PI thinks he's great, so maybe my hate is justified? Maybe he really is smart, maybe he spends all his time away from lab in the library reading? Maybe he is more on top of things than I think. All these thoughts make me feel sick. What is wrong with me? Why have I turned into this. I think the cut-throatness of being in a PhD program has slowly started to get to me. I want to feel as though I am being successful, but with ever experimental fail, I get more and more stressed and more and more hateful of those that are able to succeed. I know, how bad of a person am I.
I sometimes feel as though its my own fault. I guess "they" did try to keep me part of things in the beginning. But, I don't do happy hour, I don't like halloween parties, I don't flirt with men or flaunt what figure I have left since school has started. I don't laugh so loud that I attract the attention of all the men in the room, I don't eat certain foods, I don't have much to really say that people like to hear and I am married, so I guess that's what makes me an outcast.
Life seems to be falling apart around me at times. I have to remember trust in God is what gets us all through the toughest of times. May he protect us all and keep us on his path. I do what I do for him and only for him. I am who I am to please him, and the remembrance of that is the only thing that gets me through this life.