In an email to me, Marianne wrote, on being a student, “I guess that even if you don’t feel like you belong there, you know you do. I think one of the main purposes of universities is to make you feel small and stupid, so that you’ll try even harder. I’ve never understood that kind of pedagogy, but it seems to be very widely spread.”
No, I’m not feeling sorry for myself; I just think it’s an insightful observation.
On a related note, I remember that when I was working at IBM, we came across a study that showed that depressed people tend to be more productive. (johnxorz and I loved this.)
The proposed explanation accompanying the data was that depressed people want to take their minds off of whatever’s making them sad, so they throw themselves at their work, whereas happy people see work as a distraction from their good mood, so they don’t apply themselves as much. Sounds reasonable.
I’m weird in that when I get depressed, which happens every so often (but not now), I actually kind of enjoy it. I spend a lot more time than I usually do thinking about what I like and what I’m like, what I want and who I want to be. I feel a kind of observational clarity where I normally feel my perception is clouded by [things I’m not going to list here].
Anyway, I guess being more productive is another good thing :).