My own little library, and how I got stressed out by a good thing happening.

In my post yesterday I gave a shout out for reading material, and I got a handy Tweet from @tomwburke recommending these books (Tom’s photo):

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I also then heard from Toby, who said he had some PDFs to send my way. Turns out it was rather a lot of PDFs, enough to create my own personal History of Childhood library:

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Sheesh. That’s a lot of PDFs – like 50, and receiving them had an interesting affect. Firstly, I was really glad he sent them, because, I know I need this stuff and I am grateful. Then, when I realised the scale, my face went like this: unnamed-10

And I started thinking: oh no, what have I done, this is all a big mistake, there is no way I can get through all of this, and if I don’t, that is going to be real egg on my face. Plus Toby is going to think I’m a real loser at this whole masters business and why was I wasting his time. I freaked out and went to bed.

Today I was thinking about how not unschooly my reaction was to that whole thing, and how it was probably caused by previous experiences of life and school. The sense of dread that the teacher will find you out, as not actually being capable or whatever. That feeling of not entirely understanding exactly what is expected of you and what seems to be expected seems inaccessible, confusing or at least really difficult. The sense of fear of being exposed/losing face in front of your teacher or your peers. It also reminded me of the feeling I would get at uni when a course had a really short reading list rather than a long one – I felt relieved as it meant I could get away with doing less, this was definitely a long list.

Incidentally, after sending the Pdfs Toby did say he thought I would probably end up only needing a few, but wanted to give me the choice.

I realised I needed to totally relax and recenter myself.

Firstly, I want to do this work. I want to be doing this, I have no deadline, I can take as long as I want and need, I want to do it, and whatever happens happens. So it’s irrational to get stressed about a bunch of really interesting information that is there to help me to do what I want to do.

The resources are just that, resources, for me to use in the way that most makes sense to my areas of interest and to what I am trying to achieve – not a means by which I prove my own personal worth. Hey, if this whole project ends up evolving into something totally different to what I originally anticipated, that is totally fine too, thats how things get made.

I am so glad that my ‘learner anxiety’ has been flagged up to me, I am going to be really aware of it from now on, so that I can recognise the feeling of panic and overwhelm for what it is, and can just get on with the good stuff rather than let it bog me down.

It’s interesting, because in my day to day life, I feel as though I have worked through a lot of my ‘schooled habits’, but I guess this experience of focused study is exposing some that had been hiding in the back somewhere. This process is going to be challenging and beneficial in lots of ways.

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2 thoughts on “My own little library, and how I got stressed out by a good thing happening.

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