Friday, April 8, 2011

Academia ate my brain

I drew that in my notes during my second trip to the National Archives this semester when I was on a research trip to get some court-martial records from some soldiers in order to write my senior thesis, which is on rheumatism and soldiers who faked the disease to get out of military service during the American Civil War. I've never felt this mentally fried due to scholarly work in my entire life.

Normally, I eat, sleep and breathe academia, specifically when it relates to my interests (military history, baseball, etc.). When you have a limited time to work on things, however, you feel a sudden squeeze and it just grates at you and saps all of the fun out of doing the research and exploring your subject. I love doing research. It's such a gratifying feeling to find a source or a bit of information that helps you prove your point. But when there's so much pressure and you find yourself continually crying and sobbing to your roommate that you're breaking down because of it, it's not exactly as fun. The stress of this was just not okay.

In retrospect, I'm wondering if I could have gone to Disability Services on campus to ask them about working with my professors to help me find better ways to complete my assignments without getting so stressed out. But I'm pretty much done with my undergraduate experience now, so I'm always going to be left wondering. Don't be too proud to try it, though, because you never know what might happen and who could help you. My on-campus therapist, Dr. Kathy Bradley, has been my savior this semester. Make sure if you need support you get it - you'll melt down and end up in a very bad place otherwise.

And now I will go and do my citations. Ugh.

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