Monday, December 7, 2009

Feeling Stupid

Last week I helped host a Graduate Student Society meeting for grad students in the Linguistics/English Language department on BYU campus. We asked some professors to participate, and requested that they tell us what they wished someone would tell their graduate students. This could have anything to do with their thesis/project work; their interactions with their advisor and committee, teachers, and other faculty members; or anything else they thought was important.

One teacher said, "Don't let yourself feel so stupid that you decide to quit." She said that she had felt stupid when she started her program, and that some students feel like they're the only ones and that they don't belong there. I thought that this was an interesting insight, and one that I think will be beneficial for me, as I hope to start my master's next year.

Today, for our assigned reading, my syntax teacher had us read an article which didn't have to do with syntax. It was about feeling stupid. I thought it was a well-written article, and I would recommend anyone to read it. I don't think that it only applies to graduate students. It applies to anyone who is trying to grow to become something beyond what they are.

The concept is that, if we didn't feel stupid, we wouldn't feel pushed to discover. If we felt smart all of the time, that would mean that we hadn't even approached our limits, and that we would never push or expand them. So go out and feel stupid today!! But don't let that feeling make you quit. Let it make you work harder!


C. David Gravett said...

I assume you mean stupid as in, "I don't know something," and not stupid as in "I knew something but was so careless I didn't consider it." No matter what I'm doing I still hate the second kind. Too bad we only talk via blog comments these days, can't wait until finals are done :)

Sam said...

Awesome article !

Nae said...

I'm glad I read this post today, as I just finished my Physics final.

Jody said...

I loved the article. It made me think of applying to the doc program in counseling - which would be a really STUPID thing to do this year. But the idea really applies to all kinds of learning - not just formal schooling.