I’ve been debating about whether or not to write this post. It’s about the so called Impostor’s Syndrome. If you’re an academic, especially a PhD student, you’ve probably heard of it. It’s not something that happens only in academia, but something which I think academia exacerbates.
I’m not an expert, but I would describe it as a state of mind in which one does not attribute their own success to their own ability, but rather to luck, chance or clever trickery. It can result in severe feelings of anxiety and inadequacy, stemming from a constant fear of being ‘found out’ and it can lead to more serious clinical conditions, such as depression. After all, luck never lasts, and there’s only so much we can do to fool our peers into thinking we know what we’re talking about.
The reason why I’m bringing this up is because I identify with these symptoms, and they have recently become so severe I’ve actively started pursuing a career outside of academic research. Because I love research so much, being driven out by these feelings only increased my anxiety to the point I could no longer function as a normal person.