Imposter Syndrome knocks at your door…again!
by Niki Michalopoulou
I observe that we live in an era where we can’t keep up.. Generally.. With advertisements, technology, and developments…
You wake up, log into social media, and find a fascinating webinar on Educational Robotics that you want to apply for, then a conference on Neuroscience pops up, which really interests you. Less than 15 minutes later, an advertisement for a Summer Research Program in Genomics appears that piques your interest. You want to do it all. And maybe you’re one of those crazy people who dare to want to do it all. Meanwhile, you’re working, pursuing a master degree, or maybe even a doctorate, or all of the above. It seems that these people really exist. Do they sleep as well? How do they manage to do it all? Tell me, I am interested!
Time for your CV: THE madness
Your CV for academia is supposed to look different that the one needed for industry. And when the time comes to apply for a job, you make countless revisions until you’re unsure if it’s good enough. You worry about the interview – someone else has probably achieved so much more. Then you think about your qualifications, the fear of not meeting the requirements, anxiety, and even forgetting to turn off the water heater… and somewhere along the way, you lose your confidence.
The time for self-criticism… and exaggeration!
Have you made the right decisions? Have you wasted time in this job? This was supposed to be a stepping stone! Meanwhile, you have deadlines to meet. There’s a paper you’re working on and at the same time you are also involved in a project for a brain study. All while dealing with anxiety, lack of recognition, sprinkled with a bit more anxiety and lack of satisfaction with what you have achieved already. Usually, all of these lead to evenings at home, with the appropriate background music, trying to categorize your progress to date into imaginary boxes that are never enough. Breathe! Then you remember your classmate who just finished another paper while you haven’t even written three lines yet. Maybe you’re not good enough for what you’ve taken on?
The Imposter Syndrome hits you!
You have all the symptoms: a constant feeling of inadequacy, fear of rejection, strict self-criticism, self-doubt, and a belief that you don’t deserve as much as everybody else. You have the core fear of the Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that you are receiving more praise and rewards than you deserve and this will be revealed to everyone soon.
Me, Myself and I: Time for self-criticism… with honesty
This might take a while, but when you get it together and start to speak to yourself with honesty and kindness, you see realistically what you have achieved. You set new goals, make your decisions, and bounce back with determination. At this point, you need to give yourself a pat on the back for what you have achieved, because that’s a lot!
Sometimes, if we think about it, we become greedy and unfair to ourselves. We believe that others have achieved more than us. Don’t compare yourself to others, only to you, a year ago, two years ago… Nobody is living your life! When things feel like they are slipping out of control, when you feel like you’re drowning, have a little faith (in you)!
Also, it is nice to observe the progress of those around you and get inspiration! Just inspiration though!
And don’t believe for a second that you are the only one with such chaotic moments… All of us (perhaps a bit of an exaggeration) have listened to “Losing my religion” at 4 o’clock in the morning while waiting for an email from the big professor, deleting and writing down again and again our name on the CV or just simply looking at the ceiling.
In the end, it is important to come to terms with your intentions when taking on a job, research, or project. Is it for recognition, for the advancement of science and humanity, for yourself, for your neighbor and family, or all of these and more?
Look inside and find your motivation!
Find all our past articles chronologically organized in our archive.
Do you have ideas, questions, comments or special requests?
Would you like to highlight your research project or nominate a researcher that you would like to learn more about?
Please write to our email or fill out the form and hit “send”. We will be happy to talk with you!
[contact-form-7 id=”44″ title=”Contact form 1″]