The water has begun to flow. It’s that time of year again when the wooden supports under my fragile porcelain well-being are eroded by drip-drip-drip of the semester’s relentless stress. It starts as a trickle but I react immediately, in nanoseconds, like the circuit elements that I can never quite puzzle out no matter how long I try.
I traded my soul for a high earning potential. Or rather, I put it up for collateral, and I’m slowly paying off the debt with my mental health. There’s rarely a moment in which I don’t wonder if it’ll ever be worth it. Lately, I don’t think it ever will. As the days and weeks pass, I feel a bassy dread mounting, accompanied by a reedy-thin voice in my head singing a refrain: “You made a mistake.”
The summer refreshed me, put my feet up and brought me a beer. Fall pushed me out of the chair and has begun to pull my hairs out one by one.
Some days, good days, my name is Jane Got-This Kagan and I sit up straight and let the equations and the code and the diagrams wash over me, drinking them up with pleasure. I go to work and I smile and I help people, and I’m a net good in the world. I’ll see the last few of those days in late October. By November 22nd, I’ll wish I’d never been born.
I know my life is, at worst, still incredible. I know many people, shit, most people, have it harder than me. But I’m all I’ve got to compare anything too, and I’m not made for working and studying from 8 AM to 10 PM twice a week, and I’m not made for transistors and computer architecture, and I’m not made for saying “How may I help you?” fifty times in a day, as if I care, as if I’ve ever cared.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll keep going. But that’s stubbornness, not strength. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my time here, it’s that I’m only two things: obstinate and weak. Everything else is an array of variables, and I’m too tired to solve for them right now.