Imposter Syndrome

Really I could write forever about this. But I’ll try to not make it too whingey.

Yes, I suffer from imposter syndrome. There, I said it.

Like most PhD students, I have the constant feeling hanging over me that it’s all a mistake. I got to where I am because of a mistake and I’m only pretending that I’m able to do all these things.

Contrary to expectation, this gets worse the more I succeed at things.

At the moment, I’m going through what most would consider (from the outside) to be an amazing stroke of good luck, and hard work paying off. I have people asking me to be involved in my research, I’m leading workshops for government programs, I’ve won two scholarships to go overseas (one to present my work, the other for training) and I’m halfway through my exegesis. Which to some part of my brain means that I’m just trying to fool more and more people, and someone will find out eventually.

I’m terrified of every single event I have coming up. Logically I know that I shouldn’t be.

I do try to talk to people about it. I try to find support, but because it’s imposter syndrome, the usual answer of “you’re amazing, look at all this stuff you’re doing” actually is evidence to the contrary to me. And the response “don’t worry, you’ll be fine” feels like people are dismissing my problems, with no attempt to actually understand them. I know. Unfair thinking on my part.

I don’t have an answer for this yet. Oh sure, I find plenty of temporary answers – cups of tea, complaints to friends, typed rants on the internet, running, meditating and so on. But they are all just bandaids. I hope that I can find something longer lasting soon.

If you’re in the same position, I’m happy to chat about it. I find truth in “a problem shared is a problem halved” – even if it’s only for a few minutes.




Happy New Year!

Happy New Years to all! Sorry for the radio silence, I’ve been flat out moving a couple of my goals along.

At the end of October I submitted my Masters thesis, and immediately applied for a PhD. After an excruciating waiting period, I’ve been awarded First Class Honours and a High Distinction for my thesis, and have been admitted to the PhD program. I will officially begin my PhD in February.

I’m working at putting together my list for New Years Resolutions. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Continue with fitness goals
Achieve all first year PhD requirements
Submit an article to a journal and a conference paper
Downsize things and get rid of unnecessary things
Make more things
Buy less stuff
Go to Scotland
Keep things organised
Go hiking as much as possible
Cook/bake more
Enjoy life

I’m yet to plan out how exactly I’m going to achieve all these things, but there’s my list for now.

What’s on your New Years resolution list?

Thesis last efforts

So tomorrow is the day I submit my thesis to my supervisors.  Then I’ll get seven days to complete all the other sections (like contents pages, acknowledgements and so on), before I get their comments back, a few days to make those changes and then it all goes to the examiners.

Here’s a couple of thoughts that I’ve had lately about the process.

1. Keep going.  There will always be good things and bad things, easy and hard things, and it can seem like there are far too many to handle.  But keep going and you’ll get there.  Build up your momentum and you can’t be stopped.

2. Don’t forget the rest of your life.  Don’t abandon your diet plan, budget, partner, chores, alone time, time with friends, anything like that, in order to work solely on something.  Some of these things may have to be less frequent than before for a while, but don’t ever abandon them. You need them.  All.  Time management is key.

3. You have more time than you think.  It’s all about efficiency.  Hours in a day aren’t infinite, true, and there are a lot of people who are very very busy people.  My parents wonder how I manage to do all the things that I do, with the same amount of time as them.  The answer is that I do things that are of value to me, and not the things that are of value to them, or that they do out of habit.  Like watch 4 hours of television every night. Don’t get me wrong, I watch TV shows when I want to, and I waste time on the internet or doing many other things.  But I also know what things need to be done, and I set daily goals and plan time for time wasting.

4. Have faith in yourself.  You can do it.  No, really, achieving goals takes a lot of work, but that’s all it is, work.  Believing that you can, or that you’re doing well, even if you’re not entirely convinced, will help you have the motivation to continue and achieve.

5. Doubt is normal.  This is the most important lesson I have learnt over the past two weeks.  I went through (and am still going through) a period  of self-doubt about my abilities as a researcher, as a writer, as a linguist and of course about everything else.  My supervisors have said that they both went through it, and still go through it frequently.  My friends have gone through it.

I’ll sum up with the very helpful words of an author, lecturer, and all round awesome person, Bronwyn Parry “Trust yourself… Uncertainty is actually a good thing when studying data – it means you’re really studying it, not just looking for what you want to see in it. Knowledge advances through questions and doubt and more questions.”

And now I must take my own advice and Keep Going!

Hello world…

This is my first post on this blog, my welcome to the world post, and  I am afraid it must start with a confession.  I am procrastinating.  I have less than 300 words to write to reach my goal word count for my thesis (and many more I could write) and yet, I am starting a blog.  At this stage in my life, this is fairly typical of me.

I hope that in the future I will be more motivated to move and be able to focus on the things that should be done rather than the things which I just do for the sake of it.

My next few posts will hopefully be baselines for each of the different areas I wish to improve on in my life.

Now, back to writing!