Tag Archives: Impostor Syndrome

Nearing the end of Year 2…

I feel like my posts here have become significantly more infrequent over the last year, compared to during the first year of my PhD. I went back and briefly counted, and it’s not as drastic a difference as I expected; I posted 12 blogs during my first year, and have done 8 so far this year. This just goes to show that how I feel something is going is not always the most accurate measure of reality.

I think learning how to separate my immediate perception of my progress from the reality of my progress is the most important lesson I’ve learnt in my PhD so far. I have spent a lot of the last 12 months being frustrated with ‘not moving fast enough’, ‘not doing well enough’, and generally struggling with the idea that I “should” be at least a stage further forward than I am. Every time I speak to another PhD student about their work they seem to express the same idea, which hints at the fact that this is something we are all dealing with! Continue reading

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Small victories?

Sometimes a victory that feels huge can suddenly sound obvious when you try to explain it. For me, the key is to remember how important it is to you.

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Back to work

I haven’t written anything on this blog for a few months. I would like to say that’s because I’ve been intensely busy with all kinds of work and life related things, which is kind of true. But mostly I haven’t had the motivation to write because I try to focus on my PhD work and that has been very frustrating recently.

In my last post I wrote about the relief of passing my “upgrade” panel, so I am now a fully registered PhD student (instead of officially an MPhil student). That was back in November last year. Immediately after that I finished off and sent out a draft paper to collaborators, just in time to get some feedback before Christmas.

Stupid idea. Continue reading

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Up(grade)s and Downs

While usually I try to focus these blogs on positive aspects of PhD life, today I want to focus on how I felt driving home after a mediocre day.

Yesterday was not a good day. Nothing particularly bad happened, but work didn’t go very well and by the time I left the office I was frustrated.

I ranted about it whilst driving home; about 45 minutes of “Why doesn’t it work?”, “Why can’t I write faster?”, “Why don’t I understand it all yet?”, “Why is science so *frustrating*?” etc etc

The frustration I’m feeling is down to the stress of meeting deadlines, not the work itself.

The main cause of my current work-related stress is the fast approaching upgrade process. Continue reading

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Impostor Syndrome, Happiness and To-Do Lists

I was asked recently, “What’s your life goal, your aim?”.

Starting a PhD involves lots of people asking if academia is the career you’ve decided you want. It also involves lots of people assuming that academia is the career you’ve decided you want. Either way, those people tend to tell you what they consider are the most important skills to build up during a PhD. This mostly consists of being told things.

When I was asked what my life goal is, I had to think for a while. In the end I decided the only true way to answer that is by saying, “I want to be happy”.

Then I was asked, “What makes you happy?”. “Oh” I thought, “That’s a difficult question”. Continue reading

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