The Impostor Syndrome - Am I not good enough?
So I have a really big exam tomorrow. Its referred to as the Final State Doctoral Examination, because its administered and executed by the Czech Government. In essence, it's my final examination and a way of the state deeming my education sufficient. In other words, it's a huge freaking deal. The second biggest exam of my life.... the one hurdle that could derail my entire academic career... ok... if you haven't guessed, I'm a little stressed, but for more reasons then you would think.
So have I made this post to simply bitch and whine about my exam or is there a meaning to this madness... What this post is really about, is the Imposter Syndrome. Sometimes referred to as the "Imposter phenomenon" or "fraud syndrome". It is a psychological state of mind where people truly believe their accomplishments and achievements are underserved or mistaken. The affect this can have on someone is in some cases dibilitating and in others its motivating.... in my case, its definetly the debilitating one.
I first heard about this phenomena at a personal development conference I attended in the states a couple years ago. This conference was open to Golden Key Members, who had achieved a GPA in the top 15% of academics from selected universities around the world. Although the entire audience there had proven beyond doubt they were the top thinkers in the respective universities (maybe the world) they all still fell victim to the imposter syndrome. When the presenter asked us to raise our hands if we feel, we were selected to be there by mistake, the entire audience (almost) raised their hands. I was shocked to discover I wasn't alone.
You see, feeling like an imposter has a huge toll on my mind, the whole time I was at this conference, I assumed I was the odd one out, and that everyone there would soon discover I was not as intelligent as them. It was such an emotional and inclusive feeling to find out we were all the same. It in a way made me realise, wait, I'm not an imposter if they are feeling the same way and I think they are successful then I also must be successful. For the first time in my 5 year acadamic carreer I actually felt accompplished. Despite having received medals and awards previosuly all it took was a room full of people sharing the same feelings of fraud that I did.
Fast forward 2 years and I am attending one of the top technical Universities in Europe (also one of the oldest technical universities in the world), achieving almost perfect grades in all my subjects, receiving job offers left right and centre, being begged to continue on with PhD studies by multiple professors... yet I still feel like I am undeserving... that they are all mistaken and I'm not as great as they perceive.
This brings me to my current situation. My exam, it's literally one of the very last steps in my 7-year academic career. Once I finish this exam, I am officially deemed educated by the state. In a way, it is irresputible evidence that I have achieved something amazing. I should be proud and feel accomplished, yet Im debilitated with feelings of guilt, fear and fraud.
So this brings me to my next point, and I hope this helps you as well as me.
If you feel like an imposter or fraud, and that your accomplishments were mere luck or chance, DONT!
You have come so far, and achieved so much to get to your position. It doesn't matter if it was in work, education, crypto, developing or anything. Look back at your career and say "wow, I had to achieve a lot of things to get here". Then tell yourself, "like all these other successful people I am not an imposter, I have genuinely made it".
You deserve to recognise your own brilliance!
So I'll stop making any more "self-help", "soppy" comments, and let you guys get back to being great!
If you want to learn more about imposter syndrome, I think i found the presenter who did my workshop. She has a similar youtube video free for everyone to watch.
Wish me luck in my exam tomorrow!
Until Next time