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In fairness nobody can tell you how you’re going to feel when you start a PhD. Clearly there are common, shared emotional responses that are pretty predictable: Fear, excitement and nervousness being the ones that immediately spring to mind.

What they don’t tend to talk about is paranoia.

Paranoia that you’re not smart enough to be doing this. Paranoia that somehow ‘they’ are going to spot this. Paranoia that you are going to get found out.

4 days into my PhD and that’s basically where I am. (Actually I’ve been at that stage since the first week of my Undergraduate degree, but that says more about my perilous mental state than anything else!) Fortunately this wasn’t an unpredicted state of affairs and I’d been fortunate enough to have several discussions about this issue with a good friend – who was also scheduled to be one of my academic supervisors before…

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