It is highly unlikely
no to say impossible that you’ve never experienced it:
The felling of not belonging where you are. The feeling that you don’t deserve it. That you’re not good enough. That all the others are better than you. I have no shame to say that I felt like this many times, at various stages of my studies. And it’s called the imposter syndrome.
Imagine my relief a few weeks ago when I heard two very established and sucessful PI’s (For the drosophilists, it was Casey Bergam and Scott Hawley) saying : “The imposter syndrome: we all have it, it’s not going away, and it’s not even getting better!”
I was amazed that two ‘top shots” PI’s would confess that so bluntly, but I am thankful that they did. After some googling I found that Richard Felder, the very renowned chemist had the same problem, and wrote some guidelines on how to convince yourself or your student that we are not imposters. It is very helpful.
And let’s face it. Our job is to discover something NEW and something nobody NEVER worked on before about the immense black hole that is mother nature. That’s already challenging enough, right ? How can that not be intimidating, and distressing. On the top the of that, we live in the 21th century, with deadlines, grant pressures, peer pressures, risk of beeing scooped, unrelevant, and I’ll stop there.
In my opinion, it’s perfectly normal to feel like an imposter sometimes, and everyone should have the guts to just say it.