Feeling like a fraud

Yesterday I had a very positive day of good, solid PhD transcription/analysis, and I ended up feeling a lot better. My panic usually stems from having procrastinated a little bit and then feeling like I am falling behind, and then feeling like a complete impostor because I am invariably then running on a wing and a prayer. I am beginning another transcription today and I have decided to follow the same song from its beginnings at the start of the learning process in week 4, to the end, in week 12. This will give my transcriptions some continuity, and will also show the development of one idea throughout the semester, and how a teacher and a student deals with that process. I am very excited by this decision. While it’s not really very innovative (we see it all the time in  movies about transformational learning, where student 1 has a problem with work piece 1 and then we see the transformation of the process and the end result is brilliant rendition of work piece 1 becoming a springboard for all sorts of other learning brilliance. A comical rendition of T.S. Elliot’s poem Tiger Tiger Burning Bright springs to mind here!), I think it is a rich way of transcribing the events in a way that pure dialogue cannot.

I was reminded by my good PhD friends of the “fraud” weeks, where one has the sensation that one is false, unfit, unsuited to this life of study. I am not an island here. It’s good to chat with others about one’s feelings of inadequacy, and for them to not only sympathise but also empathise with one’s feelings. It is a common syndrome for all of us in this study life.

My fraud feelings stemmed from teaching outside my field of expertise, and having to make connections with areas of research with which I am not yet fully comfortable. I am getting there, and I recently had (almost as if my boss felt my angst) a lovely comment about my teaching from one of the classes. I immediately felt SO much better!

So my days are improving again, and I have no new important family stuff to take care of for weeks and weeks – hopefully nothing until next year. From April 8 I am taking three weeks off singing teaching to focus on my writing, and I am really looking forward to this time. I have little teaching at Uni, too, so it’s all looking like a clean slate for working on my thesis. I am getting a little desperate to finish my data collection, so I am wondering if I should send out reminders to my teachers to locate some ex-students for me for interviewing. I also need to do my final interviews with my participants, and I suspect that is part of why I feel under pressure and fraudulent.


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