Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sixth-year-itis

My medico friend told me about "third-year-itis"- a disease all third-year med students contract- when they start imagining that they're afflicted with every possible disease in the book..:)..I think I have the grad-school equivalent: sixth-year-itis. And it's quite different actually. The symptoms include feeling totally bored and demotivated by one's own work. Consequently, productivity dips to an all-time low, and all previous tricks learnt over the past five years of pulling oneself out of the slump don't work. The patient drags her feet at work, taking 3 hours to do what usually takes an hour. Getaways, distractions, scaring herself by suddenly yelling when she wasn't expecting it don't help. :-) The symptoms are exacerbated when expected results are not obtained, and all plans, back-ups, and their back-ups are falling flat on their face; either because the experiments don't work or because the results are the exact opposite of what one expected. A year ago, the same student would have taken these as a challenge and fought back to nail the blasted experiments; make them work and show them who's the boss. But a patient of sixth-year-itis is unable to mount such a defense. Instead, she resorts to wallowing in self-despair and boredom. Compounding environmental factors include mind-numbing distractions that the patient has newly discovered and takes safe recluse in; to avoid tackling the real issues. The patient seems to have resigned to her fate; the all-too-real fears of soon-to-run-out-funding and the more important need to get out of this 6 year-deep ditch are not perceived as threats strong enough to shake the patient out of her inertia. If left untreated for too long, the patient descends into a permanent state of inactivity and non-productivity. One fine day, it's her turn to present at lab-meeting and she finds she has no data worth showing. If this shake is not enough to jolt her back to reality, the patient runs the risk of relapsing into 6th-year-itis, and progressing into 7th-year-itis. That is a condition almost untreatable, and the patient should be made aware of that.

17 comments:

qsg said...

You need a vacation, girl! To clear your head and get your mojo back! Get silly! Get stupid! It will all work out! It always does...hang in there! :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

:-) I had my vacation re..don't think it's that. I need OUT. and it ain't happening unless i get things moving!

bah.

yes, will hang in there, thanks for the pep. much needed as i go deal with the e.coli now. :-))

fafridi said...

I am in the third-year-itis of my proffessional life, and vacations have stopped working for me. What works now is thinking of the the next step from here, and whether i want to take 3 months for it or a year or more. Talking to mom or a few particular friends who never fail to inspire me, that is something that'll never stop working. Also getting a good game and stopping just at the time when i am at my highest energy levels, not yet tired, that works for me.

Born a Libran said...

I hope I dont get 6th year-itis!!! I hope I finish just with 5th year-itis!! But I know what you mean...

Sakshi said...

I think I diagonsed myself with sixth year itis too :(
Now I know why I am surfing the net instead of firguring out the next line in the thesis that never seems to get anywhere.

sd said...

* This too shall pass*

I think you are a chemist/pure sciences student. So not sure how much the following applies to you. But in my area they say that "PhD happens in a year, you just don't know when that year will come!"

So chill out and take it easy - You guys in the sciences put in too much work already!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

fafridi.
i like that game idea. i think going biking or to the gym does that for me. talking to good friends is a good idea, except that when they all say "this happens, we also went through it" i don't seem to find much comfort in that. :(

libran.
yeah, stay away from year 6 . it's not fun

sakshi,
writing!!! sigh- i feel your pain there too, sistah! . i started pulling the plug on my wireless modem while writing. it helped. :-)

sd,
in my area they say "all experiments work in the last year", but yeah, they never specify the year ;). i want this to be that year!! :)

greensatya said...

I am sure with the 'grit' the said patient has; she will pull her out of all the odds stacked against her. New day, new fight, just keep going...

The Smiling Girl said...

I read a similar thing in the book 'Doctors' by Eric Segal. And he even wrote that they get so used to that whole feeling that they tend to overlook real symptoms ... Poor things.. :)
Lekin who told u that u have this disease.. I did read the report, but I diagnose u with another disease... "Over-reading-into-SG'sblog".. Hehehehe.. :D

The Inquisitive Akka said...

i know, i know, been there, done that!But it actually did get over, I couldn't believe it but it did!So, it will happen to you too!Hang in there girl! Now that I have a job, I actually miss my 6th-year-itis!!

Mediocretes said...

@The Cruel Pied Piper of Ipanema:

Here's a DoW, free of charge: Karm kar, phal ki ichcha mat kar.

jane said...

i have tgfi-itis. :D

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

satya,
:-) said patient says thanks.

S.G,
yeah, I read it in Doctors too...and if i had to diagnose you, it's clearly a case of "foot-in-mouth" disease. ahahahahhaah :)

akka,
yeah! it's nice to see people on the other side, some reaffirmation. hehe, you actually miss it??

mediocretes,
jee guruji. :D

jane,
ahahahhaha! i can guess why.

Mediocretes said...

Balak, meri guru-dakshina? (Free-of-charge offer has been revoked).

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hahahha "guruji" status has been revoked too!

Basanti said...

Me going thru fourth-year-itis! hahaha!!

*hugs*

Lets both go on a vacation! :D Chal, apan dono goa chalte hai! :D

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

thanks for the hugs :)
chal basanti!!