I am a victim of the impostor syndrome
A couple of years ago, I took the Clance IP test and discovered that my scores on the Imposter Phenomenon (IP) were really high! This explained my tendency to doubt my own ability to succeed as a researcher.
Although the people around me would remind me that my achievements showed that I had what it takes to be a researcher, I wasn’t convinced. In short, I lacked self-confidence. I know that I am not the only victim of this feeling.
Many researchers’ productivity is affected by this syndrome, and IP is more common among high achievers, people with the perfectionist personality type. So how am I dealing with this? I realized that irrespective of the cause of my IP, I had to accept it and focus on regaining my confidence.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who believes (or doesn’t believe) in me. I have to believe that I have what it takes to become a researcher. I have also started celebrating each small success I achieve and tried to take on more challenges, especially in areas where I lack confidence.
It is like jumping in the pool and learning to swim all by myself — scary at first but quite enjoyable with practice. I now spend more time with people who remind me of my strengths. These are baby steps but they are helping me. I don’t expect my IP to disappear overnight, but I believe that as I continue to use these four steps, I will gradually overcome it. And so will you If you persist!
This story is an extract from an article written by Elodie Ekoka, a PhD student at the Wits Research Institute for Malaria, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), and guest author for Editage Insights. The full article is available here.
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