Cycling Through Doubt

“Doubt is the big machine. It grinds up the delusions of women and men.”- Victor LaValle, Big Machine

Doubt has always been something that I have struggled with, as many people do; the fear of always making sure I’m making the right decision and doing the right thing has led me to doubt myself many times throughout my college career, particularly. This is why I chose this course epigraph when thinking about my goals for the semester, especially considering it’s my last one and I think the goals, whether achieved or not, can cycle back post-graduation.

I started off freshman year in Dr. McCoy’s class where she reminded us that we need to focus on “step A” first and work our way through to “step Z.” What often comes of this is cycling back to a particular step and working through it—this sounds awfully familiar to what we’ve been thinking about in 337 but remains important. It’s taken me close to eight semesters of trial and error, more error than I’d like to admit, to finally realize how useful this methodology of cycling back is. While working on papers, for example, rushing forward in a progressive-linear process has elicited frustration and unnecessary doubt on a personal level: getting stuck at a specific step and having to cycle back, for me, meant failure and made me doubt my own work (my own delusions). This is something I have worked on over the past four years and what I hope to continue to master in 337.

Looking at the Koch curve seed shape we discussed in class, the curve expands in multiple directions with each iteration. As a recursive process, the additions cycle, adding to the active lines over and over again. As the iterations progress, however, the curve maintains its characteristic structure: the higher magnitude iterations resemble the basic first iteration Koch curve. There is familiarity. This is important to me when thinking about cycling through while simultaneously progressing through the semester. With each text we work with, each assignment I complete, and each class that I experience, it’s important to cycle back and continue thinking. One habit I’d like to finally break this semester is reading for class and quickly forgetting the material a few weeks or months later. The doubt I mentioned before made binge learning and forgetting necessary to cope with mounting work and resulted in a bad habit I’d appreciate breaking.

Thinking about the Koch curve’s familiarity between lower and higher magnitude iterations, this also reminds me to remember where I started. Especially with grad school, jobs, loan deferment ends, and moving to a new city encroaching, it’s important for me to realize that even if I have to cycle back as I progress in the professional world, there is still familiarity present. Doubting my own abilities and what I can accomplish in the face of uncertainty, whether in class or beyond, can actually be solved by cycling back and seeing my first “iteration.” I’ve accomplished a lot since freshman year, and cycling back to see what I have done shouldn’t cause self-doubt but should actually inoculate myself to it in the future. I hope that I can practice this cycling system of self preservation against doubt in 337.



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