The work doesn’t get easier, you just get better at doing it

Yesterday was a long day. It started at 9:00 a.m. and it didn’t end until 11:00 p.m. Crammed into those 14 hours were two seminars, 1 study group (that I somehow ended up leading), a presentation I was sure I bombed, and a neverending stack of papers to read through. I think I ate at some point, but I’m not entirely sure.

I felt overwhelmed and was beginning to question my ability to handle the learning curve of this program. My undergraduate degree is in English Professional Studies, not Sociolinguistics. I know MLA not APA. I used to cringe at the thought of charts and graphs and statistics. And even though I’m beginning to grasp some of the concepts and theories present in this field, I’m still struggling to catch up, and I was sure that the assignment I submitted yesterday was a complete disaster. When a colleague expressed the same fears and frustrations, I repeated something my favorite professor used to say: “the work doesn’t get easier, you just get better at doing it.” I said the words, but in that moment I had to work really hard to believe them.

Then I woke up this morning. As I reached for my phone to turn off my alarm, I saw that I had an email waiting in my inbox. It was the feedback from my tutor on the assignment I was so unsure of. There were a couple of notes on citing within linguistics (something I know I need to learn), but the rest of the feedback built on my research question. At the end of it all, she told me that I did well which is why she spent time thinking about my ideas. This is the same tutor that sends me sporadic links to books and articles she thinks I will like and find useful for my own research.

I know that it will take a lot of work and time to adjust. I’m okay with putting in the extra work. And I know that there are going to be days where I want to come home, crawl into bed, and forget that I ever chose this career path. But I cannot fully express how grateful I am for the encouragement and support I’ve been given, even if that support is simply someone showing me that my ideas are worth thinking about.

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