The Daily Stoic: Weekly Reflection №. 5
“Keep in mind that it isn’t the one who has it in for you and takes a swipe that harms you, but rather the harm comes from your own belief about the abuse. So when someone arouses your anger, know that it’s really your own opinion fueling it. Instead, make it your first response not to be carried away by such impressions, for with time and distance self-mastery is more easily achieved.” — Epictetus, Enchiridion
On February 22, 2022, around 1 AM, I had my first breakdown since I started post-graduate school. Even though it was only less than twenty-four hours before the due date, the financial section of the paper does not seem to see the light of the day yet. Moreover, I have not had the chance to check the grammar and the consistency of words in the study itself. I was not assigned to do the financial stuff; However, I could not bear the idea of sleeping even though it is still incomplete. I was so frustrated. Since I do not engage in meaningless confrontations with anyone (this time, my team members), I could not do anything, and I felt like my hands were tied — which I really hated.
To be specific, here are the reasons why I was so infuriated:
- I felt like I was the only one giving my all for that research paper.
- Sleep-deprived for several weeks. I think this is enough reason as to why I was emotional at that time.
- I was not assigned to do the financial part. Apart from knowing that if I do it from scratch, it will not be finished in time, the other team members should do it because they have not had a massive contribution to the paper yet. I mean? Come on.
- Self-pity. Thank you, W, for helping me realize this. As I have said, I felt like I was the only one sacrificing my working hours, sleep, and social life for the sake of submitting the best paper in my assertion.
- Exhaustion, weariness, because it has always been like this. These people have been my team members for quite some time now, and they have not changed a bit. I try to ignore this, but this is the reality.
- How could they sleep knowing that their contribution to the paper is not yet done? I cannot seem to understand. I have been following up for weeks and weeks ago. What the heck?
The combination of frustration, sleepiness, weariness, and loneliness on that day made me bawl my eyes out. I kid you not! It looked like I was filming a music video and the story was about a student who was about to give up. I tried to reach out to a few friends because I needed someone to calm me down, but no one was available, considering it was already 1 AM. In the end, I allowed myself to cry but still worked on the paper. I wrote the draft for the financial section, checked the grammar and consistency of the paper, and wrote a few more pages while crying. Yes, while crying. What a wild (and dramatic) writing process!
To be honest, I almost lashed out. I mean, I could not seem to understand how these people could do that? How could they trust that I will still finish the research paper regardless? Why do they make me feel that they depended too much on me? It was tiring to do that for almost a year now.
These are a few of the reasons why I prefer individual works. I do not have to wait for anyone to do their part, or remind them that I need it by this time. If anything goes wrong, I only have myself to blame. Unlike when you are in a group, you need to consider their time or their social stuff, and you can go ahead and sacrifice your own because you are the only freak who wants to produce a good paper anyway. Oh God, just writing this makes me tear up. Clearly, I am still quite pissed.
More often than not, when bad things happen, it is not actually what happened that makes the situation worse — it is rather our reactions or attitude towards what happened. When we choose to ignore and take action, we see results. However, when we opt to let our emotions arise because of our perception, it becomes chaotic. The drama starts, unnecessary confrontation happens, and then everyone will be lost and never remember why everything has started in the first place. And then, we see no result.
A few days after — when I was talking to my friend, W — that was when I realized how The Daily Stoic and Atomic Habits made a mark on my life. You see, I have not allowed myself to react in any way, regardless if I have more reason to; Rather, I responded in a way that I will still be productive no matter what I feel. Because at the end of the day, I was the one to blame. Why did I allow myself to be their team leader? Why did I let them be negligent of their responsibilities and feel confident? Whether they have or have no massive contributions, the paper will still be done before the deadline. Why would I do that?
Only a few of my friends knew about that breakdown, and to my surprise, they only had one remark: I need to stop being in the same group as them. To ask my Professor if I could go solo. I should not be stressed when I write because that is one of the few things I enjoy the most. And I could not agree more. Ever since I started taking Master’s, I have prided myself for writing good papers — regardless if it is a team or an individual work — because I know myself. I am passionate about reading and creating something out of it. I never stop working until I get my desired results. I am willing to sacrifice my social life, books, anime, and my sleep for as long as I have the best paper in my assertion. I am competitive in that way.
The only thing I wish for myself is that: I find a person who works like myself from the class. Some people might find my ‘student traits’ a bit toxic; But girl, I do not do anything halfheartedly. I do not want to have regrets and what-ifs over what I do. And if I want to excel in the field of research writing, what is the best way to do it than to practice and learn from the feedback of all my Professors?
PS. The panel said it is indeed a good paper. And they celebrated.