“Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

another-cat-imposterBy Claire

Kelly has posted before about “Imposter Syndrome” – a fear that you will be found out as an imposter who somehow tricked everyone into thinking you know more than you actually do.

Next week, I’m heading off the the Atmospheric and Meteorological Society (a.k.a. AMOS) annual conference in Melbourne. While I’m really excited to head along and catch up with people and hear all about the interesting work going on, I am a little bit terrified about giving a presentation myself. 

I have spent almost a year putting together a journal article, which I hope to send off to a journal in the next few months (but that’s an all together different set of insecurities). The point is that I’ve been accepted to present this paper at the AMOS Conference, and I’m scared.

I’m not scared of presenting to a crowd of people – public speaking doesn’t really phase me. What I am scared of is presenting my own work to a group of my colleagues who know much more about palaeoclimatology than I do.

I’ve heard that by the time you finish your PhD, you will have essentially become the world expert on your topic. If that’s true, then I have a long way to go.

I think my fear of being caught out as an imposter is even stronger because I had no knowledge of any of my PhD topic until I started. I did a Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Science, and an honours project in Oceanography. Palaeoclimatology is quite new to me and to be honest, I feel like I’m making it up as I go along.

I don’t really know how to end this post because I don’t really have a solution. I suppose I just have to realise that while the people I will be presenting to are incredibly intelligent in their own fields, I am actually quite good in mine.

Wish me luck and fingers crossed I wont be found out!

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