I got a scholarship to do a PhD at a prestigious UK Uni, and after 12 months I left due to a disagreement with my supervisor. Achieving the scholarship and subsequently leaving made me think I was an impostor in the first place and a failure for leaving which drove my self doubt for years.
I've just flown back from my first conference almost 10 years after I started my scholarship, and even at the start of the conference I felt like I didn't belong or I'd somehow got there by complete fluke, despite co-authoring a paper and presenting it to a room full of people. I met some incredible engineers whilst out there who had the same self doubts and worries about their work and careers. That in itself helped me come to terms with it a small amount. People I respect who are far further on in their careers still get that feeling sometimes and that if you keep trying, it doesn't go away, but it does get easier to reason with yourself and believe in your abilities just a little bit more.
Oh wow, yeah – that's definitely a pretty unique experience. I think conferences definitely bring up the impostor feelings for a lot of people, especially presenting at conferences. Lord knows it does for me. But I think you're right – knowing that everyone else is feeling the same way is powerful knowledge and can really help cut through the impostor stuff.
Congrats on the paper and the presentation! Hope everything went smoothly :)
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