I am an imposter.

 The past six months of my life have been a blur of studying, job applications, procrastination, meltdowns, joy, love, spiritual growth and general life. I have meant to write blogs on my general daily happenings but the task seems to keep sliding to the bottom of my to do pile (right under binge watch Netflix – just one example of my excellent ability to procrastinate).

 With this six month flurry of activity, it seems that somehow I have gotten over half-way through my Masters and the finish line is slowly coming into view… along with a mounting pressure to work out what I would actually like to do with the rest of my life. The question “what would you like to be when you grow up?” has been asked of me from quite a young age – as I am sure is the case for the majority of people reading this. Had I been writing this at five I would have answered ‘a teacher’ or ‘a princess with 200 cats and 5 dogs and a horse’; had I been writing this at age 15 I would have said ‘a journalist’ or ‘a dancer’; writing this now I have one answer: I’m not entirely sure. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my degree. I love the debating philosophy and getting down to the nitty-gritty of understanding what dance is. However, realistically speaking, just because I -touch wood- will have a couple of letters after my name come graduation, does not entitle me to a job in which I continue to do what I’ve been doing for the last year. Heck, today I had a conversation in which I said “I do not for the life of me know how I got to doing a masters – I never thought I was good enough to get accepted”.

In that sentence lies 10 years of my attitude towards education: I never thought I was good enough. I don’t deserve to be here.

 Okay. I get it. I wouldn’t be doing the course if the tutors thought I couldn’t, I know that. Understanding that is a whole other kettle of fish. This ladies and gentlemen is a small case of something that is known as ‘Imposter syndrome’.  A psychological pattern in which “Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.” (Wikipedia, 2018 [online]) (yes I just cited wikipedia but this is not strictly an academic piece of work so don’t judge me, okay?). This description pretty much sums my attitude towards my academic career, I’ve always credited my success as luck that my parents put lots of energy into instilling a love of literature and words within their children, and to the fact that I am very very good at *ahem* hogwashing…

 But now I have 4 months until my degree ends, and it’s time to take ownership of my talent and strengths. The ability to hogwash, while useful in some situations, is not the key to getting good grades. I love to write and I love dance, and somehow I have managed to combine the two in the form of the 18000-word dissertation I am writing on the developments of ballet criticism. Right now I’m taking it one step at a time and hoping that come September I will know what I would like to do for the foreseeable future…

1 thought on “I am an imposter.”

  1. Don’t beat yourself up too much over Netflix, either. Down time is sometimes needed for health and happiness.
    You DO deserve to be there. Treat the course as a job to done, rather than a vocation itself.


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