Forewarning: this is probably not the most positive post....
In my former professional life, I had a client who used to say that everything was "useless." I find myself feeling the same way lately. Working on the dissertation can involve so many mood swings-- great days when you feel productive; you have a number of interviews lined up in the coming weeks and/or you had great conversations with potential interviewees. And, then there are times when you are going through a "Valley of Sh*t" (look on The Thesis Whisperer website for this article-- so true). I have to admit that there have been more valleys than mountains lately for me. Plus, it is the last week of the semester; the grading is piled high and I haven't even begun to tackle it yet. Not to mention, I haven't been feeling well all week, so yeah, that puts a damper on things. Also, if you've watched or read the news at all this week, you know that there have been many new tragedies on top of protracted ones (like the crisis in the Middle East). These things just make me feel like I should have stuck with my "former" life so that I could have been fully involved in advocacy and service work.
The other thing I must confess is that I've been grappling with that green eyed monster-- jealousy. This is something that graduate students don't really talk about too openly. However, I believe that the first step in trying to break free of an emotion that is paralyzing is to admit it. I've known a number of people recently who obtained a decent amount of funding, both internal and external to my school, and all of them are around the same point as me in the program. Truth be told, there isn't enough funding to go around (whether it be internal or external), and not everyone is eligible to apply for every grant. Nevertheless, the constant stream of this news lately has just made me feel like everything I am doing is useless.
As a person of faith, I know deep down that is not true, and I know things could be worse. Nevertheless, maybe the fact that I've been sick this week wasn't a coincidence, and I just needed somewhat of a break, despite the pile of work that encircles me. Or, maybe it's just procrastination out of burn out, imposter syndrome, or something else.