Jack of All Trades, Master of None

In the past, when I looked at stories I write or artworks I make, I sometimes feel so inadequate, and I have to remind myself that most of my experience is in the applied sciences. Lately, I experience those times more and more frequently. And as I grow older and I watch those my age become even better specialized at writing or at drawing or at programming, it’s getting harder not to feel even less adequate.

Since I went back to school for my Masters, I have found myself questioning whether I’m in the right field. I look around me at the people who have so much passion for computer science, who live and breathe computer science, who have hobbies related to computer science, and I wonder if my place is really among them. But I wonder about the writers and the artists who live and breathe stories and art, and likewise have hobbies related to their respective fields. If I had pursued a career in writing or art, would computer science then be my hobby and would I still feel out of place among these different set of peers? It’s easy to imagine that that would be the case.

I don’t think there was ever a time in my life where I thought about a certain activity as something that I could do 24/7. Even writing, which I had been doing since I was 8, is something I cannot do all day every day. I’ve always been interested in many things, and some of those interests I have less aptitude for than others. For example, even though I liked writing a lot, growing up, I did much better in math at school than English. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I have “natural talent” in math or anything — I’ve stopped believing in talent for some time now. I did well just because my parents pressured me into studying very hard at math.

I guess I’m just one of those people who can’t do one thing all the time. Saying that out loud makes it sound so common. I mean, of course! Nobody can do one thing all the time. But as someone whose time is divided into pursuing very different things, I can’t help but feel like I’m lagging behind those who seems to just concentrate on one activity.

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