Ok that may be a bit of a hyperbole. But considering I’ll officially begin two more graduate programs in a few hours (and already failing at that adequate sleep thing), it’s great advice that’s slowly beginning to stick with me after the past two years of my first masters program.
Dear fellow graduate students, your work will never be as perfect as you imagined it to be. There’s a difference between sound, good scholarship and impossibly pristine scholarship. In fact, the latter would seem fairly suspect in many circles. The former, however, is usually a sign that you’re on the right track.
Sounds silly, no? But I’ve posed the question that precipitates this response (i.e. When will I begin to feel completely secure about the work that I do?) to many and have received the above answer in many iterations from scholars across a variety of fields in the humanities, natural & social sciences, and professional programs.
I reiterate this point in this space because it’s a sentiment that seems to explain why feelings of imposter syndrome (i.e., feeling one is not smart enough for graduate school/professional life or feeling as if your admission/hire was an accident) always arise for budding and established scholars alike. More importantly, I know I’ll need to remind myself of this constantly throughout this next phase of life because clearly these people have a point.
So here’s to the next stage in my graduate career and to all those who occasionally stumble along the way. I’ll never say it gets better (/rant for another day), but sometimes it’s just nice knowing you’re not alone.