I'm a PhD Candidate with Feelings of Insecurities and Inadequacies

posted
24-May-16, 14:06
Avatar for SoulPower
posted about 4 years ago
I have a bachelor's degree in business, a master's in counseling psychology, and a doctoral candidate in philosophy (non-clinical, spiritual counseling psychology). Clearly, I have enough cognitive capacity to accomplish nearly three degrees, yet I have always found myself to be an average student with feelings of inadequacies surrounding my field of study. I compare myself to many of my colleagues and peers, and even if I am passionate about my chosen discipline, I have to admit that academic rigor and excellence has never been one of my strengths. I love learning, and I believe that I'm a non-traditional learner. For instance in the area of psychology, my strength is in clinical applications more than theoretical analysis/discourse, and my epistemological style is through practice and applications. My research and orals, though evidence-based and clearly articulated, are presented in the most simple fashion, which sometimes seem to lack academic sophistication. Am i the only one who is having these types of experiences? I'm concerned that I will complete my dissertation (on culture, religion, and sexual identity) and feel that I have not learned or gained much from my doctoral program. These concerns almost led me to withdrawing three years ago, but I'm continuing to persevere because of my passion to educate and inspire others someday. I would love to hear from others with similar experiences, as well as feedback and supportive comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
posted
25-May-16, 09:49
by satchi
Avatar for satchi
posted about 4 years ago
hi soulpower
First of all don't compare yourself with others.
If you are a non-traditional learner, keep doing it, don't waste time and energy in doubting yourself.
Sometimes things presented in the simplest manner are the best.

What you should do is put your efforts in completing the dissertation, write it up and hand it in.

good luck
posted
01-Jun-16, 11:52
by Hazelle
Avatar for Hazelle
posted about 4 years ago
To be honest, I think every PhD student goes through feelings of inadequacy at some point, and anyone who says they don't is probably lying! I think what happens for PhD is we go from being real high flyers or even top of our year at undergraduate to being surrounded by a load of other people who were also near the top of their year at undergraduate level because those are the only people who do PhDs (or at the least the only ones who get funding because it is so competitive). So we go from an environment where we're used to being near the top to an environment where everyone is of a similar level, and that can lead to feeling like we're no good and comparing ourselves negatively with our peers. As the poster said above, best thing to do is try not to compare yourself with others. We're all researching different things (usually something very specialist and niche) and we're not in direct competition with each other in our fields, so we should be talking and encouraging each other, not feeling like we have to outdo each other all the time. Try to focus on your work and your project, and once it's done try to feel proud of yourself, because completing a PhD is no mean feat!
posted
01-Jun-16, 13:29
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Hazelle:
I think what happens for PhD is we go from being real high flyers or even top of our year at undergraduate to being surrounded by a load of other people who were also near the top of their year at undergraduate level because those are the only people who do PhDs (or at the least the only ones who get funding because it is so competitive).


Depends on the subject. In the hard sciences sometimes up to 80% of students do a PhD after their Masters (biology or chemistry for instance), so you are definitely not only surrounded by high flyers and you don't need to be one to successfully complete a PhD. Probably different in the humanities.
posted
01-Jun-16, 15:09
edited about 23 seconds later
by Hazelle
Avatar for Hazelle
posted about 4 years ago
Depends on the subject. In the hard sciences sometimes up to 80% of students do a PhD after their Masters (biology or chemistry for instance), so you are definitely not only surrounded by high flyers and you don't need to be one to successfully complete a PhD. Probably different in the humanities.[/quote]

Sorry, I was speaking from my own experience as a History student. Didn't know it was so different in the sciences!

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