Impostor Syndrome 102: It’s back!

The research and writing on what we know as impostor syndrome abounds, and with good reason. People from every walk of life experience it and it’s nearly impossible to get through grad school without the myriad of questions inspired by self-doubt: what happens if my advisor realizes I’m way less experienced and/or well-read than everyone else in my cohort?; am I going to disappoint my advisor with my lack of abilities?; I can’t believe everyone can have such informed opinions on Roland Barthes…why am I just now hearing of him?

Most of those questions are prompted by a lack of self-confidence brought on by comparing oneself to a host of high-achieving, accomplished peers. I think most graduate students are reticent to tackle impostor syndrome head on, because they’re hopeful that it will just slowly dissipate. (At least, that’s how I felt.) I know I was DEFINITELY hopeful that it was a sensation that would stay contained within my graduate school career. But recently I had an experience that caused it to come roaring back. My first thought upon realizing it was back… “Great, now I get to deal with the assistant professor version of this arduous mental health challenge.” Continue reading

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