Hello there bloggies!

A constant theme in a trainee’s life is the feeling of doubt. Am I smart enough to be in research? Do I know enough. Am I good it enough to cut it out in grad school? Or even in the lab in general? How have I fooled people this long into thinking I can do this?

These feelings are frequently referred to as ‘impostor syndrome’.

When most people talk about impostor syndrome, they are usually referring to trainee researchers such as grad students and postdocs. And that makes perfect sense. Younger researchers don’t have the experience to draw on during those moments of self-doubt. Instead, those feelings can stew and fester internally.

But impostor syndrome has no age limit folks.

Self-doubt and feeling like a fraud can and will happen at any time. Whether it’s starting a new job, entering a new field, hiring a new employee, or even just assessing your career goals and aspirations. Doubt and confusion can creep in.

Personally that’s where I’ve been in the last 6 or so months. Through the job search, picking the new job, and now starting in my new position, I’ve been a sea of nerves and questions. Trust me, these feelings aren’t fun. So I can empathize with anyone feeling them.

But these feelings aren’t the problem. I think it’s healthy and perfectly normal to have them. I consider them a sign that I aim to learn more and continue to strive to be a better scientist.

The important thing is to not let doubt take over your scientific life. If you’re in a research lab as a tech, grad student, post doc, or even more senior researcher, then you clearly have the ability to be in the lab. Don’t let self-doubt hold you back. Continue working your butt off and being a better scientist. You can also use these feelings to find ways to better yourself. Audit a class. Learn lab management skills. Forge out on a new project.

Just don’t let self-doubt paralyze you!

Here are some other resources on Impostor Syndrome if you’re interested:

New York Times

CalTech

What are your thoughts about Impostor Syndrome? Have any personal experience? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Dr. F

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