Thursday, 9 December 2010

Who am I?

Lately I have been asking myself this question every day, and every day more than once...

Paradoxically, when I was younger I used to know exactly who I was, what I wanted to do in life and how I would achieve my goals. With time, things have become less and less clear and sometimes I feel stuck. When people ask who I am and what I do I find myself quite confused. I used to answer easily to these questions by proudly saying: I am a Classicist or more specific, I am a Latinist. But am I, really? I have been studying Classics since I can remember: I attended a Liceo Classico and studied Classics at univ in Italy, I then moved to the UK and took a master in Classics and finished a PhD in Classics. But what do I do now? I work at the Centre for e-Research at King’s College London and none of my daily tasks have anything to do with Classics. I haven’t looked at a Latin text for years; in fact, I doubt I can even remember any Latin. And the funny thing is: I would have never thought I would miss Latin but somehow I do. When I was younger I thought I would be an academic at some point in my life, a Latin Professor indeed; I knew I wanted to teach and I knew that I wanted to take research for the rest of my life.

My PhD experience certainly made me change my mind. I didn’t love taking research as much as I thought I would and I didn’t enjoy the academic life that much. I often felt lonely in the library and in a city far away from my family and closest friends. During my third year as a PhD student I got terribly depressed. I fought my depression dedicating myself to several hobbies and that’s when I started my little stationery business, valeasc. So Valentina was my serious half and valeasc my artistic alter ego. With time I have discovered the more creative side of myself and now I feel the urge to create on a regular basis.

However, while I love having my tiny flat full of colourful papers and fabrics instead of just books and journals and photocopies, I am now more confused than ever. Who am I? What do I really want to do with my life? And, is it too late to change my path?


  1. Defining someone by what they do is an annoying social shorthand when first meeting. This is fine if one is one-dimensional dedicated to one's work, however the truly interesting people are those who have a variety of interests and experiences. Personally I find it very difficult to explain what I do and what I did in any coherent way that makes sense to the person asking the question, and to be honest, they're not usually listening. So just make it up! Say that you train elephants in your spare-time, or that you are a gold prospector, that you were the person that repaired the statue for Berlusconi.

    Be whoever and whatever you want to be and it is never too late to find a new passion in life.

  2. Oh! Thanks so much for your lovely words and encouragement! I guess it's normal to feel a bit low and confused sometimes. The real important thing in life is to be happy and I will definitely do anything to be satisfied and keep smiling!