Applications

One part of university life it seems people can’t get around is writing applications to research funds. In order to perform an important part of the work you have an education to do, you need to convince financiers that 1) the field and issue you want to research matches the interests they want to pay for, and 2) that you are set to do it.

Not only does this take time away from other things (writing 10 pages of motivation for the 15 pages article you want to produce in the end takes time), it also takes enormous amounts of energy. At least for me. At least the first time. We’ll see how it goes.

On the one hand I can see the point of applications – may the best idea and the most merited researcher win. What they say though is that the system tends to direct money towards those who already have resources, both economical and discursive ones. If you are easily understandable within dominating discourses, if you don’t threaten or too obviously question dominating ways of understanding the world, you are more likely to get money. I wouldn’t be surprised to see figures on this, but I don’t have them.

I really don’t know what system would be better. More fair, more diverse or promoting the best research (whatever way that can be measured). But this one eats me.

I just know it is a very lonely job, and I can’t work on my own. I can’t get myself to present myself and an idea I just “came up with” as relevant, important, workable. Well I guess that’s what everyone does, but then at least they tell each other yes, this is fine, we can do this, this is what we do, this is worth doing. I don’t even put my energy into reading in on the topic, but to messing with my psyche. And the answer when I asked my boss regarding this, a few months ago? “You’re doing just the right things! Post-PhD-confusion is very common, particularly among women!” Eeeh – thanks? So all you’re saying is it would be (slightly) easier if i were a man?

In this university business people are supposed to be atoms, self directing, networking, independent. Just do it!

I need psychological strategies. I would have loved to get this thing sent off, just believing I had text enough to look relevant at the outset. But now I realize I had been too confused all the way through to even look up the requirements, and it turns out I need MUCH MORE text. No chance I can do that over the weekend. I could send them what I have just to have sent something. In fact that was my original plan. And it seems so easy. But no I can’t. I have a psychological need to fail. It seems important for me to fail. It seems so important I will do anything to fail in my own eyes.

And I will go home to a weekend of failure impossible to comfort. The feeling of failure will spread to all other parts of life. I will “smear my feelings” on my wife – and telling her this will make her feel blamed and guilty. No way out.

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