How to shake off the 'impostor' fears that plague your PhD studies : three strategies for fighting those insidious feelings that you don’t deserve to be where you are

Keogh, Maisie (2020) How to shake off the 'impostor' fears that plague your PhD studies : three strategies for fighting those insidious feelings that you don’t deserve to be where you are. Nature. ISSN 1476-4687 (https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-02401-6)

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Abstract

Often, I feel like a complete fraud. As a PhD student in biomedical engineering, I realize that this feeling is irrational. But I cannot quite shake off the sense that I am just one of those lucky individuals who happened to be accepted into a PhD programme; that perhaps my two previous degrees were awarded in error; that any minute, someone will come along and politely inform me that it’s all been some big mistake. I have been coping with what is popularly known as impostor syndrome, a recognized ailment that many researchers face down at nearly every stage of their career. When you are consistently fighting off the feeling that you simply don’t deserve to be a junior researcher, and that at any moment your deception will be discovered, it can make the PhD journey exceptionally difficult to navigate.