I have a full-time job, and am a part-time PhD student who is experiencing tremendous struggles throughout the first year, compared to my previous schooling which was extremely easy. I want to know if I'm psyching myself out / over-thinking things, or if I'm being rational or not, given all the circumstances.
My academic career began with a degree in Computer Science, but I took as many side courses in Mathematics as I could. I did very well, loved it, and thought to do graduate studies. A couple of my professors thought it was a great idea, considering how well I did in their classes, and suggested going for a Ph.D., part-time as I have a full-time job, in the same school. They wrote me stellar recommendation letters and I got in without any issues, whatsoever (unfunded, but that was not a concern to me).
I am nearing the end of my first year in the program, and it has been an unbelievable struggle. A family/personal emergency caused me to have to withdraw from my classes for the first semester; despite how embarrassed I was, my professors told me it was okay and that things happen, and that they still had complete faith in me. Now it's the second semester, and I am struggling to keep up in my classes. I have always approached math via my intuition, but now I feel I am able to follow my professors in lectures and participate, but when it comes to studying or applying it that's when I struggle. Self-study takes so long and is very arduous and as I'm not used to it; I get extremely distracted.
Compounded with this, is that I want to discuss this with others, but I find it almost impossible to face my professors that recommended me, anymore. I haven't spoken to them since the winter due to shame. They had so much faith and confidence in me (and probably still do), but I feel that as a PhD I should do better, but I'm not. My performance is shocking and appalling to me, considering what I was used to doing. Talking to my adviser is out of the question as well, as when I discussed my last-semester withdrawal situation with him, he made a loose implication that "he wasn't necessarily sure he would've admitted me, in hindsight," and he wondered aloud who was the one that did admit me.
I am still in a position where I feel that I would not be happy unless pursuing graduate study in mathematics, as I want to learn this subject inside and out, be surrounded by a community that I find interesting and exciting, and researching and publishing new ideas. I just have no idea if my struggle is either completely normal, if I'm horribly under-qualified, or if I am just psyching myself out. How can I figure out whether I should stick with my program or not?