13th, June 2019
This blog was created as one of the conditions for my being awarded the Global Gateway Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I am fortunate to be studying at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences for an entire academic year: Fall 2019 to Spring 2020. It is a very respectable environmental, agricultural, ecological, and veterinary medical school. According to the U.S. News and World Report, it ranks as 23rd in the world for ecological and environmental science, and 1st within the nation of Sweden.
I was stunned, to be honest, that I was offered such a generous opportunity. I had always previously thought that opportunities such as this always went to the savants, the talented and gifted, and the overachievers. I never thought of myself in such a position and, in fact, I still feel like an imposter. Some of you might be saying/thinking, “Ah, but Impostor Syndrome is not uncommon among high-achievers.”
First, until somewhat recently, I thought Impostor Syndrome was a colloquial expression. I didn’t know this was a thoroughly researched psychological phenomenon.
Second, I’m aware that my knee-jerk reaction of “No, no! What I don’t know can fill a library! There are others who probably deserve this more. I’m not intelligent; I just work hard and don’t want to disappoint anyone!” is also a sign of Impostor Syndrome.
I’m trying, hard, to be grateful and humble while also striving to be confident and ambitious. I’m trying to make the most of this opportunity, make myself an excellent candidate for graduate school, and respect everything I have yet to learn, all while being realistic and pragmatic. It’s emotionally draining, to be quite honest. On the topic of being grateful…
I try to be an independent and self-reliant person. Yet, I have received so much support that I would not have gotten here on my own. My parents, friends, the university, professors, and funding donors have made this possible. Thank you.
Moving forward, this blog will be dedicated to my cultural and academic experiences leading up to and during my time in Sweden. Take notice, though, that I will not pull any punches on my feelings for the better or worse. I will not gush like a teenager at every new experience. I will not plague my blog with selfies. This entire program and blog aren’t about me — they’re about education, research, science, and ambition. In doing so, I hope to provide a unique, honest, tempered perspective through the eyes of someone with more “experience” on their side than the traditional college student. Thank you for reading.