Academic conferences and the imposter syndrome

When your abstract gets accepted for that prestigious conference you feel great – for a moment – and then you realise you have to go and present your research. And there will be all those big names there. Those people you’ve cited over the years. And what if they attend your session and ask questions – really tricky questions. Or worse, publicly dis-agree with everything you’ve done. Suddenly the doubts start to grow and you begin to have those imposter feelings. And when you get to the conference the imposter syndrome can kick in with full force.

Whitny Braun, PhD, Assistant Professor of Bioethics, Loma Linda University wrote a good piece about this recently in the HuffPost.

Whitny Braun’s post to the HuffPost.

“I always arrive at these gatherings with a strange knot in my stomach and fear that this is the year…this is the year that I am going to be exposed for the idiot that I am…the idiot who has been play acting at this job for the last decade. I go to the affinity groups (mixers for people who have similar research interests) and look around the room at the name tags that show institutional affiliation. An inferiority complex develops when you see people who have published way more than you and who appear way more successful than you and surely collect way bigger paychecks than you, mingling with one another.”

Read the full post here: The Imposter Syndrome: Fear and Loathing


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