I have to admit something: I continuously question myself, asking "Who am I to speak up?".
- Who am I to write a blog and give advice on the process of doing a PhD? I'm just a second year PhD student who likes trying out different ways of working, but maybe my writing is pointless clueless blabbering.
- Who am I to raise my hand at a presentation and discuss? Why would I dare to speak up while much more experienced researchers are in the same room?
- Who am I to supervise students? I'm only just their age and sometimes even younger, and I only have very limited practical experience...
- Who am I to tell the Ministry of Transport how to evaluate their existing slab bridges? I've only been breaking slabs in the lab, but I've never designed a bridge which has been really built.
The list goes on and on, and it all comes down to one of the PhD emotions which is denoted as the imposter syndrome.
I still face these thoughts frequently, but I now know to tell myself: "Hey, there's another imposter syndrome thought coming up!" and then I just shrug my shoulders and continue my way.
I'm trying to convert my thoughts like this:
- I started this blog to keep track of how I am experimenting with workflow processes, to document my journey as a PhD student and -most of all- simply because I enjoy writing. If I look at my personal motivation, the question "Who am I to write this?" is simply irrelevant.
- Raising my hand and getting involved into discussions is simply part of a learning curve.
- In my tiny little area of research, I am in fact becoming an expert, with all the rights to talk about what I have observed in all the experiments I did.
With this post I would like to call out to everyone out there who might be contemplating starting a blog or making their work more visible.
In the end, it all comes down to these five words:
You have nothing to lose