I wonder when “studying” and “learning” became two different things for me. And I wonder if my depression affected my perspective on the matter.
I love to learn. Like a lot of people, I have a natural curiosity about everything we get in touch with. Perhaps learning is also a way we conquer the fear of the unknown by uncovering it. I also think it’s simply fascinating to understand even just a bit more of how the universe works. In my mind, people like Steven Hawking secretly have superpowers because they know so much about the universe that they can control parts of it.
“Yes, if you know as much as I do, you can teleport freely.” – my imaginary Steven Hawking.
Studying was a way to learn. When I was a lot younger, there was even joy in completing assignments and acing exams. I knew I made progress towards something exciting and something new.
I got into graduate school because I found something that I want to learn and something that I want to do; something I was sure could be a great contribution to science and medicine. I thought it also meant that I could finally do something that I want to do for a living.
Achieving dreams comes with compromises and sacrifices. I think I knew that but didn’t really take it in. I think I was and still am quite idealistic, stubborn, and even a bit egoistic when it comes to my dreams.
I could not wrap my mind around how we must jump through hoops to even start what we want to do.
I am going to be a bit salty with my tone.
It was going to be a year or two of cramming in or studying information that I didn’t really need, one to four years of working on other people’s research, and then if I were to be lucky enough, I would have enough recognition and get money somewhere to finally start. I imagine it was probably how most people got to do their research.
It seemed to me the system was designed to train operators and workers instead of innovators and inventors. There’s no doubt after years of working in the existing system, the experience will be a great foundation for the potential greatness. But I didn’t have that much time, and I didn’t have enough endurance to go through all of it.
In my mind, there was a constant conflict between the reality that deviated me from my goals and the desire to march straight to my original goals. It then became all there was – a fight. I stopped learning. I stopped studying. And the fight went on for so long that I eventually forgot what the fight was about. My depression started hitting me hard that I was barely functioning for a long while. Then there was not much left. So I could only leave and move on.
Truthfully, I think what it was really wasn’t difficult at all. I knew a lot of it was just me. I couldn’t get with the program.
I naturally don’t have much interest and motivation in anything. So I usually get things done as soon as possible while I still can. Even though I went in with clear goals and intention, the many hoops to jump through ground away my interests and motivations.
I know it was on me. But when studying became just cramming information into my brain without a purpose, what was the point of it? I wasn’t learning anything as everything I studied fell right back out of my brain as soon as the tests were done. And as my depression became more severe, it fell out faster and faster.
I don’t know where I am going with this. All in all, I failed my career in scientific research. But somehow I am quite alright. Instead of science, I learned more about my depression and mental illnesses. And all I want is to be happy somehow.