Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

On Qualifying Myself

Posted by Lissa on April 4, 2019

One of the interesting things I’ve realized by going back to school is that how I think I am presenting myself is NOT the same as how I actually come across.

I grew up with classic Middle Child Syndrome. I’ve always been an apple polisher, trying to prove to my teachers what a Smart Girl I am. It wasn’t brown-nosing for grades – I never kissed up because I wanted them to give me an A+ rather than a A- – but rather brown-nosing for approval. “Look Teacher, I’m working hard! I’m paying attention! I’ll bang your chalkboard erasers! Please like me!!”

I thought I’d mostly grown out of it in the fifteen years since I graduated college, but apparently it’s a classroom default for me. I have to really clamp down on my urge to be the first to have my hand up, the first to answer the question, the first to respond to open-ended discussions, etc., etc.

As I said at the beginning, here’s the interesting part for me: I’m just now realizing that how I want to be received is not at all how I will be received.

I think that I’m proving my worthiness to be in class. I’m proving my intelligence, my willingness to pay attention and work hard, and in return I hope to be recognized as a Good Girl / Smart Girl.

But I’m surrounded by children (my lab partner is not-quite-21) and grizzled, veteran nurse-professors. No one CARES whether I’m a Good Girl And A Smart Girl. No one thinks I have to suck up or prove that I’m Paying Attention, Really I Am!! Instead, they just think I’m showing off.

That’s a hard pill for me to swallow. It’s natural to every fiber of my being to try to qualify myself to my fellow students and especially to my professors. But I’m realizing that it probably irritates the shit out of everyone around me.

This week’s goal: Keep my mouth shut at least half the time I’d like to pop off with an answer. I don’t know if I’m capable of that amount of self-discipline, but there’s one way to find out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

4 Responses to “On Qualifying Myself”

  1. I caught myself doing the same thing. Only I was sitting with some 20 other medical volunteers (EMTs, MEDICS, Residents, and Docs) and while I was doing something with my hands (prepping something or other) I tossed answers to 4 questions in 3 different conversations. Yes, we were at 10,000 feet in the Karakorams, but well. Understand that at the time, I had had more experience as an EMT/Paramedic than most of the folks with us had been alive, but I was grumbled at to let other conversations go with out my chipping in. yep… Ask me-me-me-me!!

    Learned right then that I REALLY needed to back off a tad.

    And upon my departure (HACE–High Altitude Cerebral Edema) is a BIOTCH!!! The guy who grumbled privately commented tha the would be happy if he could amass half the knowledge I had, while he practiced in ER’s where he was going to be.

  2. TRUST ME!!

    Sharing info is NOT WRONG!!

    chuck, a Night Driver.

  3. Heh, that sounds like me…and I KNOW that I annoyed my fellow nursing students, because they found ways of letting me know.

  4. Gimp said

    Stop worrying and be yourself. Maybe you’ll wind up inspiring someone to do better, even if it pisses them off in the short term.

    Good luck! My wife and daughter are both nurses, I know how difficult it is just to get into nursing school. Be proud of what you’re doing, the grit it takes to get through it, and how you’re going to affect lives as you take care of people.

    (Sorry, I probably shouldn’t assume you’re in nursing school, but talking about clinicals and grizzled nursing instructors, well…)

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