Self Doubt and Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

***The writing of this blog was disrupted by 3 hours of me trying to figure out what the hell one of my assignments was asking. That’s basically my grad school experience so far in a nutshell. #imtrying***

So. I realize it’s been a minute since I’ve updated this thing, but let me TELL you: Grad School is hard(er than I thought it would be)! I’m just coming off of my first exams (yes, I have exams even though I’ve been in school for literally 7 days), and I am nothing short of exhausted. But, work aside, I’ve been having to dealing with a lot of changes (as expected) in my almost three weeks in this country, which has made it hard for me to find the energy to do anything outside of school (like this blog). Let’s talk about it.

Some of you may be familiar with the term Imposter Syndrome. If you’re not, it’s basically where you feel that you’re inadequate at something that you’re supposed to be good at. In my case, I feel like my performance thus far in school has been very underwhelming, and that’s not such a fun thing to think about. I’ve had many thoughts go trough my mind, from “I’m not smart enough to be here,” to “There was definitely a mistake in my admissions process,” to “Someone else deserves this spot more than me,” and then some. I’ve found myself in courses with people with really impressive resumes, and it makes me feel that I haven’t done enough to deserve a spot within such a strong cohort of people. Not only that, but the workload is beyond anything I ever thought I could be able to handle, but thus far I feel like I am scraping by (although I have yet to receive any passing marks, so we’ll see). And while I still feel very nervous and like I have a lot of work to do, I can list some things that have helped me feel a little bit better so far, just to show you that I CAN be positive (or try to, anyway):

1.Talking it out helps

If I have been comforted by one thing, it’s that I’m not alone. I’ve shared my doubts and fears with other people in my life (classmates, friends, etc.), and the general consensus is that there is nothing inherently wrong with that I am feeling; it can actually be quite common. It’s also not super surprising that I am feeling this way right in the beginning of this very new and scary process for me. Things may very well get better in time, and I can vibe with that.

2.Don’t compare yourself to everyone else

Of COURSE someone who’s older than you and with more work and school experience is going to be more experienced than you. That’s a given, Moriah, come on. Yet, me being me, I always think WAY too much about what other people think, and I can tell you it’s not the healthiest thing for me to be doing. The most important thing that I can do for myself is know that I am trying my best, and doing the best that I can do. With this mindset, I have already taken the time to reflect on some things that I have already done in such a short amount of time. Hey, I’m impressed with myself! That’s cool, Moriah, you’ve proven that you can do a thing that you haven’t done before. That’s great! Thats progress! Even the small wins prove that you are capable of something, and celebrating them in my case have made a great difference to my self esteem.

3.If all else fails, fake it ’til you make it

Hey, no one has to know that you don’t really know what’s going on. This is not my first time in the rodeo. I’ve experienced similar feelings during my undergraduate career, specifically when I was an engineering major and conducting my own research (another story for another day), and REALLY felt like I had no idea what I was doing. But I lasted a good while and presented posters to people who really expected me to know what I felt like I didn’t really know. I made it, tho. And I can make it again. And the good thing here is that I know that I am in the right place, pursuing a degree in a discipline where I know I really want to learn, work, and hopefully make a difference in this world. I know I will make it, and if it takes me having to hype myself up every morning, telling myself that I can do it and that I will make it (even if I don’t necessarily believe it), then so be it.

I’m kind of anxious putting my feelings about my experience so far out there, but I am really committed to being transparent on all aspects of my year abroad, and this is a part of it. But, writing it all out really helps me to reflect on the growth I have already made, and of that which has yet to come. I hope to update you on my progress, hopefully with good news of passing grades and a positive attitude towards the rest of my academic year! With that being said, I will try to update more frequently, but my work will always take priority. Maybe I’ll get good at this whole time management thing soon (and maybe blog it?!). That’s all for now.

 

Love love,

DJ Momo

 

 

I made it, fam. Days 1-5

It’s Sunday. It’s 7:30 PM. Clueless is playing in the background, and I am eating my first home cooked meal in my new home. It’s such a pleasure how comfortable I feel right now, especially considering how I felt extremely out of place not only a few days ago. Let’s rewind.

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Homemade spaghetti with a little too much garlic. But you can never have too much garlic. right?

Wednesday, Day 1

When I arrived in Budapest, I was all alone. And I don’t say that for shock factor; everyone in my program came alone, but this was the first time I’d truly been alone in another country. I’m a baby. When I arrived, I was very tired and hungry. I had almost missed my flight and was stressed because somehow my baggage was STILL overweight (even though I already lugged out a load of clothes back in the states), to the point where I had to pay an undisclosed amount of money, which I am not made of, to ensure that I wouldn’t have to leave anything behind in a foreign country. However, I was very lucky to have spent the week prior to my arrival in Hungary in Istanbul, so the flight wasn’t that long and I didn’t have to deal with jetlag.

From then on, though, logistically, everything went pretty smoothly. I had made sure to book my transportation from the airport beforehand to alleviate any extra stress on myself upon my arrival, and I already had someone waiting to give me the keys to my apartment. But, reality really set in the second I walked inside.

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This is what my room looked like the first two nights. Not the most inviting place, I know.

My place is really nice, don’t get me wrong. But when you walk into a place that you know is going to be your home for the next ten months and it doesn’t feel like home at all, it’s really easy to panic. So, what did I do? I busied myself and got myself some food, that’s what I did. I knew there was an ALDI nearby, and I knew of a restaurant that delivered straight to your door, so I was set. I talked to myself a lot, started to unpack some things, talked to literally everyone I knew back home (because I knew no one here), and got to bed around 2 AM. Great. Day one: done.

Thursday, Day 2

Day two went a lot better. I knew that 1. I had a lot of things to get done, and 2. I didn’t want to stay in my apartment for too long in the condition it was in. So, I went on some adventures. From my previous experience abroad, I knew how to get around pretty well with offline maps. But, let me be clear on one thing: I am terrible with directions. Even in the US, I can get you wherever you need to go, but I guarantee it will always be the scenic route. And that didn’t change here at all (until I finally got a SIM card and access to Google Maps). I did days one and two completely on foot, so that means that IKEA was not an option. Instead, I found a couple of smaller shops and got the essentials: towels, a loofah, some dish soap, detergent, etc. All in all, my errands took all day (with intermittent stops back at my apartment for wifi and to rest my feet). At the close of it all, I met up with some girls from school (finally, socialization!), and we had a very cute and interesting meal at this restaurant I couldn’t even tell you the name of.

This lovely meal was warmed up in the microwave (not the salad) by a lovely Hungarian woman with a cash box. But you bet I ate that. #hungryhippo

After that, I concluded my night back at my apartment and planned my next day. I’m getting the hang of this!

Friday, Day 3

Day three gets interesting and fun! My roommate came back (she got here before me, but is actually from Hungary and went to visit family for a few days), and with her dad….and a car! I was so lucky to have a car take me to IKEA; it would be awkward, if not impossible, to carry all of the things that I bought back home with me on the metro.I got some great things! And my room finally started to come together. For a moment, I did think “wow, is it really worth the investment to get cute things for a temporary home?” And, not too long after I thought, “yes.” While the dwelling is temporary, the home is home for the entire time I am here, and it’s important that it feels that way. Needless to say, my room is SO much better now! And don’t worry, I will dedicate an entire post to how I made it look (when it’s finally done, of course).

The rest of the day went swimmingly. It was really nice to have another person around, and going out in Hungary is a great time, although much different than what I am used to back home in the US. The nightlife here is like nothing I’ve never experienced before. In the states, or at least where I’m from, everything shuts down at 1 or 2 am. But here, people are on the tram going home for the “night” as others are on their way to work. That’s a bit much for little ‘ol me who can barely stay up past 10:30, but when in Hungary, do as the Hungarians (once)! Regardless, it felt really nice to walk around and truly feel independent in probably the most prevalent way I’d ever felt in my life. So this is what “adulting” feels like, huh?

The Weekend

Finally, it’s Saturday! My first weekend living in Budapest. This was probably my busiest day of the entire week; my roommate and I got lunch, and then met with another student from our school. Interestingly enough, she went to a school not too far from my one back home (like 30 minutes not too far), so it was really cool to have someone who’s familiar with how things are back home. We grabbed lunch, visited Office Depot (yes, that’s a thing here!), and made our way……..back to IKEA. Look, if you’ve ever been to IKEA, then you know how much fun it is. More things for the room, and more socialization! I’m really getting the hang of this whole living abroad thing. Later that evening, I “cooked” my first meal in the home: ramen (thanks to my friend back home who made sure to give me the good stuff). Following dinner, another night out in the city, and this time with more students! This night ended much earlier, and I got the best sleep I probably have in my time here so far. That’s the stuff.

As we come to a close, I’m here on Sunday evening writing my first blog post from the country I now call home. Tomorrow starts orientation for my Master’s program, and I’m really excited. I know that my experience here will be like nothing I’ve ever done before, and it will be challenging. But I also know that I chose this place and this program for a reason, and I will come out of it with so much more than I did when I came in. I’m so happy that I am able to have the opportunity to study in an entirely different environment than I’m used to. I’m excited learn, and I’m also excited to share with you! With that being said, I’ve got an early start tomorrow, so I bid you adieu.

All the best,

DJ Momo

 

Aaaaaand we’re off!

This is my first official post on the new and improved Call Me DJ Momo!!!! (I spaced it out there so you guys would see what it is and not be confused by the whole callmedjmomo. I’ve been told it’s confusing). Check out my first youtube video below!

I’m really excited to kickstart off my ~serious~ online presence in the form of “well thought out” videos and blog posts. I have a camera that’s not on my phone, so I can pretend I know what I’m doing. But I know none of you will judge my shotty work (except maybe you, Caryll. Yes you). Yep yep! Check back for updates!

Moriah