A Day in the Life of Dagong Ran

When I went to sleep last night, thunder was rolling endlessly in the Southern Illinois sky. I sought out comfort under my sheets, and for a few seconds, or maybe longer, I sympathized with those who have a particular case of Astraphobia (fear of thunder storms). A lab mate of mine instantly came to mind, who sees tornados as her ultimate nemesis. Evidently, these were the thoughts of a clinical psychology graduate student (who specifically studies anxiety disorders) before he goes to sleep on a given Sunday night. How predictable.

Mondays are usually full of agendas, although it is not something unique or particular to a graduate student in psychology. The first class in the morning was called cognition, affect, and behavior. What a wonderful class. What a tough class. For a nerd like me, the satisfaction of learning knew information in abundant quantities every passing week is priceless. And of course, once in a while, being overwhelmed is unavoidable. No one told me graduate school was easy.

Later in the day there was a meeting with Sarah, our wonderful advisor. For all the exciting and not-so-exciting things I do in graduate school, I always look forward to our meetings. There are always encouragements, new insights and ideas on projects, and affirmation against the constant worry of imposter-syndrome that every graduate student inevitably develops. Last but not least, I can always count on her gentle reminders to keep my feet on the ground.

The day doesn’t end here. As I am composing this little vignette of a day in a graduate student’s life, I am waiting on my group supervision. I don’t have lab hours today, what a shame. But I will have plenty tomorrow. So there is research to look forward to. For now, I am going to drink my coffee and wonder if I could possibly catch some TV shows that are collecting imaginary dusts in my DVR.


Dagong Ran

Graduate Assistant

Anxiety, Behavior, and Cognition Research Lab

Department of Psychology

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale