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Will low self-esteem hold me back?
H

Thank you both for taking the time to write such meaningful responses to my post. The reassurance that my feelings are normal and I am not an outlier in the academic world is really comforting. I already feel better about myself from reading your responses and also from reading other posts on this forum. Thanks again :)

Will low self-esteem hold me back?
H

I am 11 months into my first year of a PhD and I am at an all-time low. First of all, to briefly explain by some miracle I managed to land a studentship in a field that I am interested in, with the research proposal already laid out for me. My main motivation for wanting to complete a PhD was to steer my career towards the environmental Industry as my undergraduate was in a different area. I have no intention of continuing my career in academia once I am finished. I would ideally love to work in a secure job in a regulative role within the environmental industry as this is what I am most passionate about. I am aware you don’t need a PhD for these types of roles but with my undergraduate degree and work experience from the retail industry only, I felt I really didn’t have any hope of qualifying for any roles.
Another reason for applying was I thought it would improve my self-confidence. As an individual I have always suffered very badly from low self-esteem and I feel it has held me back in progressing in my career to date. However, the feeling I am getting only 11 months in, is that you need confidence to complete the PhD in the first place. I thought that over time through completing presentations and building communications with fellow researchers would gradually build up my confidence. But I feel I was wrong. Any people I have met so far through the PhD are lovely, but they have such high confidence levels and are so sure of themselves already. It makes me feel like maybe I am not good enough. I think this is called ‘imposture syndrome’???
Has anyone else started off their PhD with rock bottom confidence, but became self-assured by the end of it?
Its becoming a huge problem for me and I don’t think Covid has helped. With not having the chance to present in front of people or to even just socialise with people in similar industries. I find myself procrastinating a lot and not actually getting much work done. I also feel a little lost in my work but from reading others comments on here I see that this is common enough for a first year so that’s normal, I guess.
Any advice for me or any nice happy ending stories of someone who came out of a PhD gleaming with confidence???