I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with grad school so far, and this week, it was definitely on the hate end of the spectrum. First of all, for some background, last year I applied to 16 grad programs (yes, I know, I'm insane). I was accepted to three of them. So every other day for a month, I got to wake up to a rejection email. That was fun.
So, I did get to start grad school this year, because I did get in somewhere, but I started it with my self-esteem pretty much shattered. Since the program began in August, I would say I've felt like a total idiot compared to the rest of my program at least 9 days out of every 10. Almost everyone in the program has a master's already. I'm the only one in our program to come straight out of undergrad. That made me feel like hot shit for about 10 minutes, before I realized, oh crap, everybody knows so much more than me. I've been working my ass off trying to just claw my way up to the middle of the pack. I've considered dropping out of grad school (or at least that it might not be so bad to fail my comprehensive exams, which we have to take at the end of the year and 25% of people fail, leaving with a conciliation masters) probably once a week, because I just don't feel like I'm cut out for this, like I'm anywhere near prepared enough to succeed, or that I have any shot in hell of finishing five years from now and actually being a decent academic job market candidate.
This week has been the worst. Two weeks ago, we started a topic in our hardest class that I'm completely unfamiliar with (up until then, it had been really hard, but at least I'd seen the general idea somewhere before). Last Monday, I woke up with the sore throat from hell, and spent three days in bed recovering. I got the notes from somebody, but I couldn't read his handwriting. I've asked someone else for the notes but they haven't gotten back to me. I tried to see how the textbook covered the material, and I couldn't get 2 pages in before I was totally lost. And that's when I just totally lost it. When I finally was feeling well enough to go to a lecture (albeit in the one class where the lectures are pretty much pointless, because they make no sense, and everyone just learns the material out of the textbook), I got totally overwhelmed in the first five minutes and spent the next two hours writing in my notebook how much I hate grad school and how much I don't belong here. I haven't been able to even look at any of my assignments or notes, because I completely panic. I've spent most of the weekend crying, either because I'm talking to my parents about how I'm going to fail, or because I tried to work on something and hit a road block, and my brain is just breaking down.
I have no idea what to do. I feel so lost. I tried to think about what I would do if I just left the program, but I put all of my eggs in the grad school basket, never did any internships or gained any work experience so I'm pretty much unemployable. Even though I don't think I want to drop out of grad school, that thought just made me panic more.
I need to figure out how to do work, any work, without having a total breakdown. And my poor boyfriend, who is the kindest, most loving person I know, is so frustrated because he just wants to problem solve and every time he recommends something or tells me about how frustrated he was his first year of grad school (he's a year ahead of me), I just start crying. I don't mean to, but the tears just won't stop. And then I feel awful not only because I'm scared I'm going to fail out of grad school, but because I'm scared I'm going to ruin my wonderful relationship by being such a fuckup.
I don't know what I'm really asking for here. I don't know if I'm looking for sympathy or advice, or anything. I'm just so, so sad.