Wednesday, March 02, 2005

How I Think


Abby is thinking. Maggie is napping.

This is me, now, thinking and surfing. It's kind of my spot. If I'm wearing away at any furniture in my apartment, it's this chair I'm in now. I just did a whole sink full of dishes (and there is another full sinkload to go), and I got to thinking about thinking....

Today was my seminar with the psychiatry residents at the outpatient clinic I'm working in this rotation period. We did some reading about the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. I realized that, as always, I have a lot to say in seminars (or any type of class, really). My brain is chock full of content about this and that: a little here, a smidgen there. "Oh hey, that reminds me of Victor Frankl's search for meaning in the concentration camp... But isn't that the same as such-and-such's theory of this-and-that?" The residents frequently comment on my wide knowledge of the topics we discuss, but I'm not even very educated in these areas, and I'm wondering where they get this idea!

There have honestly been times during school that I have made the active choice NOT to do the reading because I usually have too much to say already without even having the reading material under my belt! Some professors don't like the chatty student, and sometimes it's just easier to keep quiet if I only have tangential or pre-existing thoughts available. Once I hear something, if I've been paying attention, I know it. And I take in a lot, as is evidence by my wide breadth of knowledge about little things all over the web. I have breadth coming out my ears, but depth? Now that's another matter. Of course I have depth in certain areas, but by nature, I'm a breadth woman. I can take in massive amounts of limited information on a wide variety of topics. This means I am very resourceful; very good at linking people with information they might be interested in.

OK, so I've said all that, but here's the flip side. So I'm doing dishes, and I'm getting really worried about this job interview I have in a couple of weeks. I know I'm really perfect for the position, and if they hire me, they will be happy with me being there, but I really doubt my ability to impress them in the interview. Why? I always have this fear that someone will say, "Tell me everything you've learned about Topic X." I completely suck at that kind of recall? If I am not cued, I'm sunk. It's like there is something terribly wrong with my memory. I frequently forget what I'm saying, or basic things... For example, even though I've written my dissertation, I'm really afraid that at my defense, someone will ask something basic like, "What is validity?" and I will just freeze. While I'm great at using these ideas in context, if you take away the context, I'm lost at sea. Seriously.

I've done very well in school. I learn what I need to know. I'm a good teacher, too. I'm good at responding to people. At picking up on what people do and don't know, and filling in the holes. I'm good at leading discussion. Lecturing? I need an outline. Put me in front of a group of people and tell me to talk about a subject I know well, and without a pre-sketched outline, there is tumbleweed in my head.

I know this all may sound a bit strange. A mix of extreme confidence and extreme insecurity, but it's kind of neither. The truth is I have extreme strengths and extreme weaknesses. I don't feel too bad or good about either. They just ARE. They are what I have. I just hope the format of the interview plays to my strengths. I could really use the security of knowing I have a job to go to when internship is over.