you don’t belong here

I heard back from a second school today, for a skype interview to whittle a long list of six down to three candidates for a two-day campus interview.  I emailed back to say I was absolutely still interested in the position, and that I was excited to meet them.

I lied. I’m terrified.

I am occasionally subject to imposter syndrome, but it has never hit me so hard before. A contributor to Tenure, She Wrote described imposter syndrome this week as someone poking little holes in the sense of self you have constructed so that is acquires slow leaks, robbing you of your confidence.  She connected procrastination with imposter syndrome (compared to the more usual depiction of the over-worker worried they are underperforming).  I know when I am stressed and worried about my place in the lab, in the world, in the sciences, my work stutters and stalls.  It has been stalled these past few weeks.

The email today inviting me to skype threw my whole day off, and I let it. I wrote not another word on this paper, this nearly-done-for-six-months-now paper that I hate but am determined to finish before the end of September October damn it November.

I let it. But this wasted day also scared me straight a bit, as I can’t do this; I can’t ostrich from good opportunities or obligations, and I’ve never been someone who flinches from the tedious or the scary. I will not become someone who does, I refuse.

No more of this. Time to start proper interview prep. Time to get over my insecurities regarding the nitrogen cycle (you can have insecurities about global geochemical cycles, though it is a pathology unknown to psych textbooks). Time to get in gear, and get this sorted.

You there, the one who wrote “It’s like they think I can do science or something” when telling your younger sister about the interview.  You are not allowed here anymore.  This person CAN do science, and has the track record and potential to catch the eye of two of three schools she has applied to.  That isn’t an accident, or luck, or a side-effect of having boobs, it’s because she wrote interesting things in her proposal, and has done lots of interesting work in the years leading up to these applications.  We’ve earned this, and you are not welcome here.

In a funny note to end, the interview was described as ‘a (long!) elevator pitch that is 15 minutes long: 10 on research, 5 on teaching’. Which begs the question, which building are we in?! The Burj Khalifa’s elevators only take 35 seconds (though in fairness they are very very fast).


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