My Queer Impostor Syndrome

I am bisexual. This means that I am attracted to my own gender and other genders. I also describe myself as queer. Lately, I have been learning more and considering using the term polyamorous as well. The last one is still pretty scary for me and I am still trying to navigate what that means for me and how I interact in my social and work spaces. However, even being bisexual comes with its own issues. There is an invisibility that comes with it. I grew up being told by my mother that “Bi people didn’t exist” and where “gay” was used in a negative way. If I tried to put out my feelers by saying someone I knew was bisexual, she would reply “They are just saying that for attention.” I hated attention, and felt that if this was true, then I couldn’t be myself. I needed to be invisible. This, obviously, had a heavy impact on my mental health. I didn’t date anyone for a while, so hiding my sexuality was an easy thing to do.

However, ignoring this part of my identity never felt quite right and led to lots of questioning and confusion and hiding. And isolation. It wasn’t until college when I met others who were queer that I felt remotely comfortable. Yet, I still didn’t know that many people who were bisexual. This made me feel like an outlier, even within a safe space to divulge, so instead of claiming my identity, I continued to ignore it and threw myself into supporting my friends.

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Managing Your Student-Supervisor Relationship to Support Well-Being by Christiane Whitehouse

Academia is undergoing a cultural shift. Research highlighting the “evidence for a mental health crisis in graduate education”1 is demanding we re-examine how mental health and wellness are prioritized in academia. Although this cultural shift is occurring slowly and needs to be adopted by those in positions of power (faculty, universities, scientific societies), graduate students can still take meaningful steps to care for their own mental health and wellness by “managing upward”.

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Dealing with Your PhD When Life Happens by Jelena O’Reilly

It took me personally 6 years to finish my PhD because during that period several major life events happened in my life (probably more than during any previous period of my life) which resulted in me taking three leaves of absence from my studies and one extension. I am living proof that you can still get your PhD despite many hurdles.  In this blog I will talk briefly about  my PhD journey, followed by some of the things that helped me deal with the surprising life events that came my way, and ultimately go on to finish my PhD. 

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I Will No Longer Suffer in Silence by Joy Ismail

In the first semester of my PhD, I often found myself locked up in a bathroom stall, between classes, having a breakdown. I was overwhelmed, to say the least. I was shocked by the nonchalant way in which information and tasks were dumped on us, without the slightest regard for whether we would cope. I already knew I had anxiety and a small tendency to experience episodes of depression, but add the stress I was feeling from the PhD and you got the perfect concoction for a severe blow to my mental health. Suffice to say, I had to pick myself up and deal with it alone. By the next semester, I had adapted, developed slightly thicker skin, and could better handle the immense pressure and blatant disregard for mental health.

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