Today I had a cup of coffee for the first time in several weeks.
(NB: I am the brown and white goat. Green tea is the black and white goat.)
I really, really like my library school classes so far. I mean, I actually find the material interesting. I didn’t really expect that, and it’s a nice surprise.
Going to school with so many people who clearly come from upper and middle class backgrounds- the kind where having a Master’s degree is no big deal- is really alienating.
My mother is a high school dropout and my father is a seafarer. The fact that I am going to grad school is a huge fucking deal. Hell, the fact that my older sister and I both got undergraduate degrees was a huge fucking deal- I’m pretty sure we were the first people in our extended family to do so, at least on my mother’s side. The fact that most of my classmates seem to be accepting their education as a matter of course, that their parents are educated too, that they come from a place where that’s not only normal but expected…
I don’t know what to say to people like that. How can I? My experiences and the expectations I grew up with and theirs are so different. It makes me even shyer that I usually am; Orientation Week saw me staring at my shoes most of the time, trying to think of something to say that wouldn’t make me seem like a total idiot.
These are people who grow up expecting to be able to get out of minimum wage. They already have relevant experience in the field, and grants, and internships, and career contacts. The MLIS program requires a lot of networking and social mingling, and a lot of them already seem to have that covered. A few of them already have Master’s degrees, even. Next to them I feel unbelievably ignorant and unprepared. It’s like they’ve been working up to this for their whole lives, and I just lucked into it. There’s this idea in the back of my head that I don’t actually deserve to be here at all, that I just faked my way in here somehow and now I just have to wait to be found out. I’m not smart enough. I never will be.
I know what that is, of course- it’s Imposter Syndrome, mixed with good old-fashioned internalized classism. I know, when I think about it rationally, that believing that I’m too stupid to be here while simultaneously believing that I tricked the Board into letting me in is a load of contradictory twaddle. I know that not coming from money or an educated family doesn’t make me less worthy of going to school.
But knowing that doesn’t make me feel it any less.
Constantly Torn Between Wanting To Dress Like A Lesbian Crustypunk And An Extra On Mad Men: The Musical