Social pressure is a strong beast. And after all the battles that I have fought against it, it still beats me at times.
Thoughts of not being worthy without a PhD have arisen again lately.
Although moving to Italy has been a very positive move for my overall well-being, I’ve found myself surrounded by a scientific community once again. And so the fears have made a come back.
The fear of not being enough without a PhD; of not being able to find a job without it, not in science, not in the translation field. Fear of not being prepared for anything else out there, and without a job and no money, fear and dread of being unable to get trained on anything else.
The feelings of regrets about my decision to quit have recently flooded me. I was so close to finish…why did I leave it!!??
And then, one day I stopped.
I asked myself that question again.
Why did I leave it?
The answer came back to me in the form of very familiar feelings: stress, anxiety, loneliness. I was stuck, trapped, no exit at sight. Agonising pressure. The need to conform, to pretend, to prove my worth.
I could not continue. I literally was not able to. Not in that state of mind.
And so I left.
It was what I needed to do for myself, for my sanity. I did it as an act of self- respect. It was, in a way, a rebellious act against all that I had conformed to in the past. And it had been that, my painful past, what had forced me to change.
For more than a year I endured the hardest and most painful process of growth that I had ever experienced. The past had made me change; I was not the same person anymore. I was different, I couldn’t keep doing the same.
I feel like the doubts will always come back. Big decisions have big repercussions, and not everything always goes how we want it go. Hindsight can be a bitch in those cases.
But now, whenever I doubt my decision, I stop. I stop and remember that old version of myself, that version of me who in her most difficult times, was able to summon the strength that was needed to stand up for herself.
Because our worth is much more than the titles we hold.