Feeling like a fraud when I do well, maybe due to my apathy about academia?

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Dalai Llama
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I will be finishing my masters in 2021, with a view to progressing onto a PhD (funding dependent) in 2 years (currently have a 1 year teaching contract lined up after I graduate from the masters programme, corona dependent). I scored top grades in almost every class during my undergrad degree, and topped my year one year, too, on top of working a part time job, playing sports, and having a good social life. I've presented a poster at an international conference, had 2 research internships (not directly related to my field, but with some overlap), 1 year of full time academic admin experience, and got a scholarship for my masters (a scholarship with only 1 position for all grad applicants in my area).

Despite this, I genuinely feel like I know nothing about my field, except for my research niche. Today, I found out I was selected to be a research assistant on a major project with a massive global impact. I know loads of people who applied for it and were unsuccessful, and yet they took me, someone who isn't incredibly passionate about the field, and already has loads of experience (which my peers are desperate to get). I was elated to get the position due to the competition, and I like the research, but I just feel like I'm so apathetic to academia, which I think my classmates can tell (and they don't like that I'm successful). Everyone excepts me to be this next great thing (I realise that sounds obnoxious), but I'm ready to get a PhD and then run for the woods (or a better paid sector, which again, I feel guilty about). I'm just not prepared to live on temporary contracts for poor renumeration, as I don't come from a wealthy family, and I want to support them in the long run, and travel and own a house.

Does anyone have any advice to help me with this guilty feeling? I realise I sound full of myself, but I don't know how else to express what's going on. Thank you.
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confuseduser
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This is what is known as 'imposter syndrome', a psychological problem which is typically accompanied by an individual doubting their abilities/talents, while persistently trying to internalised themself as a fraud. The reason your classmates are jealous of your success is because you're better than them, and possibly have an incredible amount of knowledge. The issue with imposter syndrome is that these people can have a wealth of knowledge but feel that they do not
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Dalai Llama
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(Original post by confuseduser)
This is what is known as 'imposter syndrome', a psychological problem which is typically accompanied by an individual doubting their abilities/talents, while persistently trying to internalised themself as a fraud. The reason your classmates are jealous of your success is because you're better than them, and possibly have an incredible amount of knowledge. The issue with imposter syndrome is that these people can have a wealth of knowledge but feel that they do not
Thank you for your quick reply. I genuinely feel like I don't know a lot, though. I often forget basic information (especially when nervous), and I am someone who is quite strategic at studying for exams, too, so I feel like my knowledge isn't as deep? But I guess I've never considered having imposter syndrome before, and it does sound like what I've been feeling.
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confuseduser
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(Original post by Dalai Llama)
Thank you for your quick reply. I genuinely feel like I don't know a lot, though. I often forget basic information (especially when nervous), and I am someone who is quite strategic at studying for exams, too, so I feel like my knowledge isn't as deep? But I guess I've never considered having imposter syndrome before, and it does sound like what I've been feeling.
Are you good at your specific niche and have general knowledge of some other areas in your field? Many other people are the same, and I would think this is normal. A lot of journals are written by a group of experts with specialised knowledge, and they tend to work together because not one person can know everything.
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Dalai Llama
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(Original post by confuseduser)
Are you good at your specific niche and have general knowledge of some other areas in your field? Many other people are the same, and I would think this is normal. A lot of journals are written by a group of experts with specialised knowledge, and they tend to work together because not one person can know everything.
I don't even feel like I'm good at my specific niche, but I did extremely well in my thesis so I must be doing something right. I'm hoping to spend this year building my general knowledge of other areas, but you're right, I guess I don't need to know absolutely everything.
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confuseduser
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(Original post by Dalai Llama)
I don't even feel like I'm good at my specific niche, but I did extremely well in my thesis so I must be doing something right. I'm hoping to spend this year building my general knowledge of other areas, but you're right, I guess I don't need to know absolutely everything.
This graph might help (linked below). The important content to know is the stuff which is relevant, and it seems you succeeded in this case if you excelled in your thesis. Sounds good about the building your general knowledge of other areas, are these areas in the same or another discipline?

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...source=sh/x/im
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Dalai Llama
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(Original post by confuseduser)
This graph might help (linked below). The important content to know is the stuff which is relevant, and it seems you succeeded in this case if you excelled in your thesis. Sounds good about the building your general knowledge of other areas, are these areas in the same or another discipline?

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...source=sh/x/im
Gosh, that graph is really interesting. I relate to that a lot. Thank you.

The areas I need to build are more contextual around my main area of study, but do overlap a little, which is always nice yet refreshing.
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confuseduser
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(Original post by Dalai Llama)
Gosh, that graph is really interesting. I relate to that a lot. Thank you.

The areas I need to build are more contextual around my main area of study, but do overlap a little, which is always nice yet refreshing.
Sounds good to me! I’m doing an MRes this year, so I presume it will be very specialised on the specific topics for my two projects.
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QuentinM
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Sounds a lot like imposter syndrome. Best thing I've heard about imposter syndrome is that actual imposters never feel like imposters, yet the people who aren't imposters usually do. I definitely felt this way a bit, but I always felt that the more experience I got, and the more I listened to positive (and negative) feedback from others, the closer I got to overcoming that
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