Impostor Syndrome

Well it’s a few weeks into my first year of my PhD and I have mixed emotions about the whole experience so far..


The faculty and “upper-classmen” (for lack of a better term) have all been super welcoming and helpful.  I could not ask for a better set of colleagues.

The work load has not been overwhelming (yet).  I definitely have stayed busy, but I feel it has been manageable.

My seminars have exposed me to a wide variety of research areas within my field.  I’m confident I can narrow down my research interest by Christmas break.

Our program has an Intro to Teaching & Research course that I think every program should have.  Every week we focus on a different area that is important to doctoral students and a career in academia period.  We also have faculty guest speakers come in every week to lead the discussions.


There are 8 new PhD students for the entire college this year, but I am the only one for my department.  This means I have no one who is going through the exact same thing as me right now (and therefore no one to really vent to).

I can’t stand my stats class, I don’t feel like I am learning anything, and unfortunately I am having to rely too much on my class partner to help get homework assignments complete.

Suffering from Impostor Syndrome.  For those unfamiliar with the term, here is a definition:

Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

Sometimes I am convinced that I am a fake and I tricked everyone in order to get into the program.  Other PhD students that were admitted this year are have degrees from top schools (Harvard, Notre Dame, etc.) and both of my degrees are from the same state school.  One student even has a publication already submitted to a journal (are you freaking kidding me?!)  I feel like I understand about half of what I read and that I have to BS the rest.  Are all these tables and models ever going to make sense to me?? **Sorry for the rant, but since I don’t have anyone in my cohort to rant to, you fine internet folks are it :)**

I am still excited about the program and ultimately the career.  Having the confidence in myself to do so is what is currently wavering. Hopefully, it will all get better soon.  Until the next confessional..




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2 responses to “Impostor Syndrome

  1. Pingback: Thoughts arising from the Writing Summer School | BVLSINGLER PhD Diary + Blog

  2. hey, I love your definition of impostor syndrome and am stealing it for my blog (obvs with source). Great blog! best, Nel

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