Day 18: Overthinking

30 Day Challenge: Day 18

18. Marnie from HBO’s Girls said “Sometimes being stuck in my own head is so exhausting it makes me want to cry.” What’s something you over-think too much?

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Is it really overthinking, or thinking just the right amount? If someone ever says that you’re overthinking something, chance are that they’re not in that situation themselves, so who are they to judge your level of analysis?

I know I talk about grad school applications a lot, but they’re literally all I can think about right now. The biggest things are perfecting my writing sample and personal statements for each school. Literally, before submitting my first application, I read over my 6,000 word sample nonstop for hours. I read it backwards. I read it line by line. I checked every comma, quotation, and apostrophe for proper formatting. I made sure every. single. word. was perfect. Eventually I had to make myself stop reading it, and trust the judgement of my reviewers. It was as good as it could get barring another substantial revision and there was no more time for that. I still panic thinking that I missed a horrible error that will have my entire application thrown in the garbage. Honestly, if I didn’t have the feeling that this paper is the seed of an eventual dissertation, I’d burn it and destroy all copies of it to ensure I never had to think about it again.

Specifically to today’s topic, I overthink most all my own writing. Part of it is a need to have my writing be as error-free and well-written as possible, but it’s also an approval seeking behavior. My mom reads over nearly everything I’ve ever written. She does it to proofread and give me an honest opinion, but I find I need a second opinion in order to trust my own judgement. Maybe it’s from being an English major, but I’m entirely dependent on peer review. Half the time, I have to seriously proofread even simple e-mails. I’ve always prided myself on my academic writing skills, and to make a mistake would take that pride away.

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