Everyone is as confused and muddled as you, they just don’t talk about it.
If you’re anything like I was, and if you’re anything like the PhD students I interact with on a day to day basis, you can often find yourself in a bit of a muddle during your PhD.
At times, you can feel utterly confused, and not entirely sure what’s going on.
For many, this can translate into imposter syndrome, and a growing sense that you haven’t ‘got what it takes’ or that you ’should’ understand all this stuff.
I felt like this during my PhD. I suffered in silence for months, gradually convincing myself that I was stupid for not understanding, say, what a literature review was, or how to use theory in qualitative research.
I started to share my confusion and feelings with other students on my PhD cohort.
And when I did, something amazing happened. Almost everyone I spoke to shared similar feelings. Gradually, I started to realise that most people felt the same way too.
We all felt like imposters.
It taught me a powerful lesson: for as long as you keep your feelings and thoughts bottled up, negative thoughts can thrive.
Empowerment and positivity comes when you open up and share your thoughts or experience with those around you. As you do, you start to realise that you’re not alone in how you feel, that there’s nothing wrong with you and that, ultimately, everything is going to be okay.
So if something from your PhD is causing you trouble or worrying you, take some time today to share your stress with a friend. You might be amazed what happens.
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