Things I’m Not

I am not a graduate student. This causes my parents to turn beet-red with shame (or so they tell me from across the ocean), even though supporting me during grad school was not an option they were willing to entertain.

I am not a bestselling author. I hear you can’t become one overnight, and that it is especially difficult if you’re 22, have two novel-like husks sleeping inside your computer, no connections, plenty of writer’s block and stress, but I am probably just making excuses.

I am not in possession of a coveted, incredibly lucrative job-contract. It doesn’t matter that I’ve just graduated and have no experience. I do have a job that pays my bills and allows me to interact with people I like, mainly English professors, and to save enough energy for carefully slogging through those two novel-like husks and various essays on the side. I guess that makes me into a giant bum who’s wasting her equally coveted Duke education, whaddya know.

I am not good enough. Well, perhaps I am good enough for some people, but not for the people who matter. And certainly not for les parents terribles. Bah.

12 thoughts on “Things I’m Not

  1. Well, I’m a graduate student who has no real desire to be in grad school. Told my parents I want to switch out of Duke and out of math, they’re not really happy about that…

    Best advice I can give: take your time. Even if you want to go to grad school, don’t do it for a couple of years at least. I made a huge mistake going straight in 😦

  2. I certainly don’t want to meet the person who is good enough for their parents. They must be awfully boring, or at least their parents are.

  3. Please don’t tell me you’re 22 years old and feeling bad because you’re not already a published novelist!

    I’d be willing to bet that most published writers do it as a side job or as (mostly) a labor of love. Many of the ones who make it to novelist status do so only after many many years of side jobs. So start small: A letter to the NY times. A magazine article. Parts of your blog re-published on a high-traffic commercial websites, etc.

    I suppose I’m telling you nothing you don’t already know. All I’m saying is: Cut yourself some slack. You’re 22!

  4. I would really like to be Ok with where I am right now, but my parents are kinda freaking me out at the moment, H.

    I think Anna has it right.

    I’m sorry about grad school, R.

  5. yep, anna’s right. Silly parents. Ignore them, they’ll get the idea that you can make your own decisions eventually.

  6. Ah, well do I know the shame of being 21 (which is close to 22) and not being on the NYT bestseller list. That Eragon kid did it when he was 15. So what if his books are total Tolkien rip offs, ay!! And yet I must remind myself that neither I nor my stories are ready for publication so it doesn’t matter what the other whiz kids are doing.

    By the by I wouldn’t mind reading one of those novel-like-husks. Some of my favorite stories are husks by friends whom I can’t seem to beat a finished product out of.

  7. Hold on, I’ll call a WAAAAAHmbulance for you right this second.


    I guess that’s my way of saying, “Count your blessings, because most of us don’t even have a bachelors degree, let alone jobs we like.”

  8. I’m 31. I am unpublished. I do not have a PhD (I have one third of a PhD, in a box marked ‘Danger, contents may cause weeping and gin-drinking – DO NOT OPEN). I have a very badly paid part-time job. And my Dad finds the fact I am writing a novel unspeakable, because HE’S the unpublished novelist round here, and is not-quite-secretly-enough pleased I never got the PhD. Nevertheless, he wants me to earn prestigious amounts of money.

    Parents can be so utterly difficult, and will not stop being difficult just because you do or do not do what they think they want. I have every sympathy with you, Natalia Antonova, even if I seem to have started with the opposite sort of parent, may you learn the great secret of affectionately paying them no mind as soon as possible.

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