Impostor Syndrome: I got found out

I had a supervision today.

Ever since starting uni, I’ve lived in permanent fear of being found out as a fraud – not so I much in the sense of I don’t know anything, but in the sense of I’m just winging it.

My supervisor basically described it as coasting and then finding out you can’t coast any more. Suddenly, a mindset alteration is required.

I’m dreadfully aware of how much I’ve been coasting.

My school results are rather good, but I never really really did any work for them.

Same for undergrad – my GPA is certainly not bad, and counts as a First for many British unis (though certainly not all), but my study habits at UCR were not brilliant either. I much rather spent my time writing (bad) fiction, watching telly, cooking, meeting people at Sev, meeting people at Barrel, Ambassadorial work, whatever.

I didn’t bother in my MSc either (although the reasons there are more complex than there being better things to do – but nevertheless I wasn’t too bothered). At one point that cost me, and I failed an essay that I should have passed at Distinction had I actually bothered to do any work on it. Had I done so, I’d have come out with a Distinction, not a Merit.

I’m sure you’re starting to see a pattern.

But coasting is not going to get me through the PhD.

My Dad’s also already said it – “so you’re finally having to put in some effort”. And yes, I do.

And putting in effort is hard.

If only because it means facing the fact that no, I’m not a born academic.

So, something’s got to change. And it’s going to have to be me, because the process isn’t going to.

So really, this is a call to those out there who haven’t been coasting and who know how to do academic work. And to those who also coasted and got found out.

What the HELL do I do now?


Author: Ilse A Ras

There are times when I am doing research on crime news and language; sometimes I'm obsessed, sometimes I'm bored, and sometimes my tea is getting cold.

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