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Bodhicaryavatara

Does anyone else feel "impostor syndrome" about getting into grad school?

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While I'm grateful and excited about the opportunity, I'm exceedingly nervous about starting and feel like I didn't "deserve" my acceptance (my law school GPA was garbage). And Columbia's reputation as an intense "stress factory" doesn't help.  ?

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This is not even unique to graduate school.

I've said this before; it's still true: 

You're not good enough to be in graduate school. No one is good enough to be in graduate school. There is no great platonic abstract of "good enough" which, if obtained, opens the path to tenure with a choir of angels. Everyone's a failure. Everyone is faking it. No one knows what they're doing. Usually, we call this "adulthood". Being shit at something is a necessary first step towards being good at something. "Talent" and "natural ability" are bullshit terms that mask the absurd amounts of hard work and/or social conditioning of people assumed to have them. 

Edited by telkanuru

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I’ve personally been going thru the same thing! I’ve just been trying to not work myself up about it too much. Like “there’s a reason I got in and it will be okay.” It’s hard tho

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Totally, I have the same thing. I remember even in undergrad, at an admitted students day, this guy came up, I think he was an adcom, and started off with something along the lines of, "Congratulations. And no, don't worry, you really were admitted to Berkeley--no one will come yank you out of your English class. There was no mistake, I promise--you deserve to be here." The whole room burst our in laughter. I think a lot of people feel this way, especially when getting into higher-ranking schools.

I feel like I've had it throughout the process... like, I felt like my GRE was a fluke and I got lucky with easy questions, and that my undergrad GPA was a fluke because I wasn't doing a more difficult major, and that I got my way into a lab for research experience by sheer luck, etc. etc. It's so easy to feel that. And I've had it at work and other things too. It's definitely a pervasive problem, especially for women and minorities...

Edited by láadan

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I did quite some searching on this forum for "impostor syndromes" and there are some helpful threads here you could look up.

For me it's really about focusing on actionable steps I could take instead of generalized perception on my capabilities against the new environment.  

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I am european and I have a lot of impostor syndrome. Switching to the american system really helps. 

For those that don't know, in europe you don't do any coursework for your phd, you just jump straight into the research. By going to the us and allowing myself the time to learn more and gain skills,  I feel like the impostor syndrom kind of faded away.

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Yup. It's been a struggle especially when it comes to reaching out to labs I want to do my rotation in. Logically, I know that I was accepted because they think I have the potential to be a successful graduate student and PhD candidate. But in my mind, I'm like, lol no one wants to work with me, I know nothing, and they know that I know nothing

I've gotten better about just shushing that voice and doing sh*t anyways. Sometimes you just gotta ignore it and keep plowing forward

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I feel the exact same way, my undergrad GPA was perfect but I went to a tiny college in the middle of nowhere, and I imagine a good portion of my competition attended/were attending far more prestigious schools. It still astounds me that I got accepted into an Ivy League. 

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Everyone has this 'inner saboteur," an inside voice that tells you you are not good enough. If other people are (aka the adcom admitting you) then counter that inside voice with your accomplishments. You did indeed earn that accomplishment so do not let the saboteur deter you.

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Today Imposter Syndrom is hitting me hard. I feel overwhelmed by the idea of starting in grad school and wonder if my 'ideas' are good enough. Hate it.

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On 7/7/2018 at 10:23 AM, Psygeek said:

wonder if my 'ideas' are good enough.

Of course they aren't. Why would you bother with more school if you had nothing else to learn.

That you were accepted is an endorsement by multiple professors that you are able to learn what you need to. That's all you need for now.

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I'm years into my program and still feel like I'm not smart enough, didn't deserve to get in, didn't deserve the funding package, and that my work is not as good as any of my colleagues let alone worthy of my professors' time or attention.

Hey wait a minute, I think I've just figured out why I'm procrastinating so hard! 

Here is a mantra for you:

"I am smart, I am worth it, and I make valuable contributions to my academic communities."

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