Underemployment

Do All Graduates Feel Like Frauds?

I’ve always known one thing:

I want to be a writer.
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Fiction? Scientific? I don’t know exactly what genre. I just want to write and have my work published (and appreciated).

But now wonder if I’m qualified to be a real writer. Or if such a qualification even exists.

Because why on earth would someone want me to help them write anything?

I did well on writing assignments in school – but it was just school!  After spending years comparing myself to my classmates, academically I realize that I’m average at best. But then… I do remember getting back a lot of assignments with the words “EXCELLENT USE OF ENGLISH” written in red pen and accompanying smiley faces. That’s got to count for something, right? My grasp of my mother tongue  was the one thing that kept me afloat in that sea of students.

Fast forward to now. Strangely, a couple days after telling my coworkers that I knew I could make it as a scientific writer if I were just given a chance, I found myself accepting a research assistant job. Shortly thereafter I find myself working on my first real writing assignment: writing a paper to be published in a scientific journal. Oh dear… what on earth qualifies me for this?

Sometimes I feel like fraud – just a confused little kid looking over their shoulder all the time for their supervisor, only to find that he (or she) just isn’t there. When I’m working on a big project that others are going to be looking at I start to wonder if what I consider to be good work is actually passable. I guess I should have prepared myself a little better for the moment when no one would be there to hold my hand and cheer me on.

I have wonder if all graduates feel like frauds – at least from time to time. I mean, there was no course on how to go to work, or how to impress your boss. I suppose that you’ve got to start somewhere because university really didn’t prepare me to do much of anything!

But I guess that’s what entry-level employment is for. It’s your first chance to put your skills to use and figure out if you’re in the right field. It involves a lot of grunt work and even more self-doubt, but it’s an experience that let’s you learn where you really stand in the work world. And it’s provides you a starting point for your upward climb into a real job.

Are you a recent graduate? Do you also feel like a fraud from time to time?

Elle

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8 thoughts on “Do All Graduates Feel Like Frauds?

  1. In my opinion, this feeling would accompany one for a long part of one’s career. The moment you think that you know everything about the tasks in your role, you get a promotion and the doubts would be back. At least thats the way I feel even after having 10 years of work experience. Of course, as we get more experience we are able to deal better with uncertainty and the feeling of being inadequate. I guess when you think there is nothing more for you to learn, others might think it is time for you to retire. Wish you all the best on your assignment! Cheers!

  2. Writing alone is a hard enough feat, but to be a scientific writer is even more impressive. Most people can’t focus long enough to read a scientific journal let alone write a paper worthy to be printed in it! I lean more to the creative writing side and do it just for fun. With a college degree in communications, I often find myself thinking the same thing–so now what? I’m qualified to ‘communicate’?

  3. Hi Elle,

    I think at one point or another we all feel like frauds. I graduated a few years ago with a degree in Journalism and Communications… I always, always, feel a little insecure and ask myself where this will lead me to? For this same reason I started blogging in the hope that it will relieve some of my insecurities – has not helped, yet.

    Good luck on your journey and make the best of it. We will all find our calling, crossing my fingers for us :-)

    -CAT

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