Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Post 77: Dealing with Impostor Syndrome, Again

It's always the small things that set of my insecurities.

I've known since the beginning of the semester that this week would be my week to present something in my weekly lab meeting about my work, and I find that since last week I've been worrying, and stewing, and brainstorming. Here's kind of the muddled craziness that I am able to upt together:

What can I present? What do I have that's good enough to present? Am I good enough to present and take up peoples' time? What do I have I can present about? I'm don't want to over-burden my already busy colleagues with extra work, so I can't be sending them things to read ahead of time... If I'd wanted to send them something, I should have done that last week. (I thus, have not sent them anything to read.) Well, if I'm not going to send them anything to read from my current chapter, then how can I adequately present about the writing for a chapter? Do I think that I can?

How does one put together a presentation? I don't know how to put together a presentation, or at least, I am concerned that I've forgotten how to. How did I do it before? Well, if I don't have anything from my current chapter, then how can I put a presentation together? For a presentation, you need to have good content. Right. That's where you start. So what do I have I can present about?

Thanks Becky Barnicoat at BuzzFeed for capturing this so well! 
Haha! So that's some of the worry whirly-gig going on in my brain for the last few days. It's gotten a bit more wild the closer I've gotten to my presentation tomorrow morning. Watching myself go through this silly bit of brain work is a little bit funny, once I start to see what I'm doing, and have an awareness about it, instead of simply being in it. (Writing this post is helping me to laugh at myself, and deal with it, once again.) (I've written previously about the Impostor Syndrome, here.)

It's called the impostor syndrome. And it shows up in all kinds of wacky ways. A colleague of mine shared a post this morning from the blog of Hope Jahren, who thinks she's cured herself of it with the simple solution of getting tenure (which is, admittedly, a big deal in academia). Good for her! At the same time, I hope it doesn't turn out to be a merely temporary solution for her. I'm more inclined to think, Once a worrier, always a worrier (and yes, I realize that worrying and the impostor syndrome done have a perfect overlap in the world of Venn Diagrams, but I think they're pretty close). Also, I am nowhere near getting tenure, and am undecided about whether to pursue that route at this point. I'm just trying to finish my master's thesis, which seems gargantuan enough a task at this point! :)

More beautiful spring flowers to brighten up my room! Much needed to combat the grey!
Ms. Jahren's post is quite funny, and I will be going back to read more of her blog. I've signed up as a follower. :) Finding other women in academia, writing about being in academia is definitely an interest of mine.

So. I have this presentation tomorrow morning, and I think that alongside preparing a slide or two about my current chapter, providing a (short) overview of the Monograph style thesis that I'm using, and explaining what that  means for my current chapter, I also want to take about 15 minutes (half of my time) talking about process. And this is definitely part of it. Struggling with this. And not giving up, even though I can go through intense periods of time feeling like I still don't belong here, still don't know what I'm doing, and still struggle to get words on the page and share them with my supervisor. At the same time, I am still at it! The outline of my final chapter was approved after its fourth draft, so full steam ahead to finish this up, and then revise, revise, revise, which is an ongoing process anyways.

So for today, beating the impostor syndrome is about admitting that I am good enough. I am good enough to take half an hour of my colleague's time tomorrow, to let them know where I'm at, and to have them give some input on how they deal with things. I don't really need inquiries about how my thesis work is going; I need invites to work and writing sessions, at this point. Easter Long Weekend, anybody?

I can definitely put together a summary and overview of the assertions and arguments I'm trying to make in my last chapter. It's my final chapter. I'm almost there. And I'd love my colleagues to share in my excitement about this. It's been a long journey to get here.

Afternoon sun at UVic. Lovely, lovely day!
One sentence at a time. One. Word. At. A. Time. This thesis will get finished. I can do this. And so can you, if you're a grad student reading this, going through your own whirly-gig of worry. You've got this. Worry or no worry. We've got this.


I am aware that I promised a post on Research Data Management Plans, and I have another in the queue about research ethics, both based on extra workshops organized by Dr. Natalie Ban in the department, and those are coming next. I needed to deal with myself and this lab presentation first. :) Thanks for your patience.

No comments:

Post a Comment