02 June 2007

They have a name for that...

And, apparently, it's called Academic Impostor Syndrome.

(Caltech has an article on the topic.)

Allow me to let you in on a dirty little secret of mine. I think that every single day I run the risk of being discovered. A student asks me a question, and I give them an answer from the hip. I know the information is valid, but I don't recall an absolute cite for it. Is it true, or is it my brain creating something out of whole cloth?

Then there's those five little words that every person in my position fears. No, not "where is this relationship going?"1 but rather, "you have so much potential." The initial thought is "no, I don't," the second, "if you only knew."

I've suspected for a while that I couldn't be the only person that has this sensation. It's not that I'm unaware of my intelligence. Look, I know I'm a smart cookie. I know that a great deal of it has to do with my inherent curiosity about the world (thanks, in no small part, to my "neurological defect")... But I always suspected that it was something I just had to live with. You see, I was a glorious "B/B+" student during undergrad. Now, part of that was because I was lazy. I'd attend classes, but rarely crack a book unless I had to for an assignment. In fact... I've never really learned how to study, even in law school. In law school, I read the cases, worked through the problems, pulled the information, complied it, and regurgitated it. But even then, I wasn't really studying.

I'm starting grad school in the fall, and I still don't really know how to study. And yet, I teach. I have to explain to students how best to study. Shit, I'm a fraud.

And some day, someone's going to find me out.

There's a litany of things that I could divulge. Frauds I feel like I've perpetrated.

I am strongly debating on ordering the CD/Book from the first link above. If it's worthwhile, I'll report back on how wonderful it is. Mostly, what I'd want out of it is how to encourage my brain to realize how good it is. And hopefully it'll get me past that academic block that has kept me as a B student.

1I love this quote from Coupling.

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