The short end of the stick

We’ve all had days when the pressure is too much and even the smallest thing makes us feel like we’re about to explode or burst in tears. Say for example, you mess up the last step of your protocol of three days and all work goes to waste. Okay, you tell yourself, I’ll do it again next time. You’ve had that happened too many times, so you sit down to check your email, only to find out that the paper you submitted six months ago got rejected. You read word by word in despair, thinking you will never graduate. Then your best friend calls you to cancel dinner/drinks that night, because she has a test the following day, and to top it all off, your boss needs gives you an extra project to take on because the postdoc is leaving.

What do you do on those instances? Do you go hide in the restroom and cry your eyes out like a little girl? Do you go to the bar to get yourself so drunk that people have to drag go out of there? Do you get yourself a gallon of ice cream and spoonful by spoonful, slowly start to drown your sorrows? Or do you hate the whole world and drive home so enraged that your hands shake as you steer the wheel?

On those days, you question if life is giving you the short end of the stick, if you deserve what’s happening to you, or maybe you should be doing something else with your life.

I don’t know about you, but there are days where I wish I could just mute my feelings and move on. Days where I wish I could just cold-headedly make executive decisions, without my emotions getting in the way. Days where reason would win over every other hormonally-created argument.

When you continuously get the short end of the stick (in any aspect of life), are you motivated by rage or do you feel underestimated? What do you do?

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How poor is poor?

As a graduate student, the salary one makes is not outrageously high, but is decent enough to have our heads under a roof, food on our tables and an occasional splurge on clothes/tech devices/alcohol, you name it. This post came to mind the other day, when I was talking with my brother about grad student income and what not (note: my brother is also a grad student in a related area). I usually complain about how poor I am after I pay my bills, but the conversation we had about poverty levels took the idea to another level. You see, in a given department you will find a variety of graduate students; the ones that come from wealthy backgrounds and have never had to experience not having hot water to shower, and the ones who, on the other hand, have been living the struggle ever since they can remember. My younger brother and I come from middle class backgrounds, but we’ve had some pretty rough times in our lives. However, when talking about poor, I don’t think we’ve ever been that poor.

“Poor is when you don’t have any money to buy bread, and you have to sell drinks made out of dirty water to tourists while making a fool of yourself. Now, that is poor.”

Every now and then I forget that things could be worse, and that there are people who are not having a great time. I am one of the lucky ones.