A colleague was sharing that her little girl was terrified of monsters under the bed.
I don’t have kids, or even much experience with children, but I shared a tip I had read in a magazine: it said to fill a squirt bottle with water, add a few drops of food coloring and/or scent, and label it “monster repellant.” Before bedtime, spritz some under the bed, and assure the child that no monsters can survive under a bed that’s been sprayed with monster repellant!
My colleague reported back that she had tried it, and it worked like a charm.
You know me well enough by now to know that I’m always drawing connections between things, so I related this incident to grad school life. It’s so easy to judge our fears by the size of the shadows they cast, which are often much bigger than the problems themselves. And sometimes, like the monsters under the bed, they’re only real in our imaginations.
Yes, many of our challenges - writing a dissertation, teaching, submitting our writing for publication - are quite daunting. But how often do we make them bigger than they are? How often do we worry about extra, peripheral things that are unlikely to happen at all? How often do we invent our own “monsters under the bed?”
Let’s create our own supply of “monster repellant” by clinging to what we know - that difficulties pass, that we really do know what we’re doing, that we’re worthy to be here. Let’s learn to recognize when our fears are justified, and when they’re imaginary. I’m working on that.
Got my supply of repellant right here. How ‘bout you?