He liked my literature review. I got a 68. Not an A, but two points away, and regardless I don't care; I'm happy with it. The weak parts were the sections I knew would be my weak parts, so nothing shocked me, and that's good. He liked my outline and thinks I can handle it. He believes this to be a reasonably novel concept and that I've got my work cut out for me, but that I can do it. He understands that I can't power through working on it the way that Claire is; we have very different working styles. In some ways (the ways that please the part of my brain that comapres me to others), I'm relieved to be on the same level as Claire; I thought surely I was lagging far behind in my abilities. Lagging behind with my workload I don't particularly mind - I'm known for catching up in time.
At the end of the meeting I asked Nick, "Do you ever feel as though you're on stage preparing to juggle all these balls when suddenly something dawns on you, and you realise you never learned to juggle? That's how I feel." He laughed - oh, the sound of a supervisor's laughter is that of divine bells ringing! - and responded that yes, of course he did, and he had to concede that it only got worse. We discussed the feeling of learning and how part of the process is recognising that with increased knowledge we also strengthen our awareness of how big the spectrum is, how little we know and how much there is to know and how we won't get to it; we're all ice-chippers chipping away at an ice berg, when each chip only brings the realisation of how much larger the ice berg is. (Titanic was doomed.)
He explained that he felt this way every time he went to write or teach a lecture. 'How am I being objective, when I am teaching one way and there are a hundred others? How do I know what to use?' We lamented the concept for a few moments and it was comforting to know (in that it was expressed and discussed, rather than understood subconsciously) that he understand and feels the same. I was reassured by the connection and reminder that we are all humans working our way through these issues. We laughed about it together. Laughter is healing.
He told me to trust myself. I walked out of the building feeling lighter despite the additional articles he gave me. I took my initial deep 'holy shite I made it through' breath and took a moment to listen to myself.
Sure, he meant 'trust myself' in knowing what pockets of knowledge to peruse and what information to use and what conclusions to draw, but what I heard loud and clear was "I want a frappe!" so I went to the cafe to sit down with my book and a frappe. Yes, trusting myself is a very good idea, I think. (;