Academia and Low Self-Esteem: A Tale of Two Things by Elia Magrinelli

“Who am I?”

When answering this question some people might think about defining moments in their life. I have a clear memory of my early high school years; I was having an oral exam during biology class on the subject of animal physiology and evolution, something most of my classmates were struggling with, considering it a mnemonical exercise. That exam didn’t just go well for me; I aced it! I still remember the signs of awe in my classmates’ eyes at the end of the exam evoking a sensation that ultimately became a core memory and a pillar in defining who I would say I was for a long time. I was good at science. What maybe I didn’t fully understand at the time was that the feeling I had latched onto was not just that of mastering something, but the feeling of having my peers recognise me as someone who was highly talented, along with the feeling of acknowledgment. This identity and motivation, being recognised as a gifted STEM student, has pushed me over the years to achieve a lot academically, but it also came with some large pitfalls and insecurities. Furthermore, I believe that the academic system can amplify some of these insecurities, and this is why I wanted to share my experience here.

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The Power of Community for Addressing Academic Mental Health by Ciro De Vincenzo

I still remember vividly the first day of my PhD. The sky was crystal clear, with no sign of clouds, and the temperature was so mild that it seemed to harmonize with the serenity of my soul. And my first lecture was amazing. I had my special notebook/pen and took notes tirelessly during my “Contemporary Social Theory” class. I was so eager to deepen my knowledge! In the following days, I started to get along with my colleagues and I met my supervisor to create a work timetable. Taking PhD classes, studying the literature on my topic, and writing drafts of articles made up my routine—along with daily beers with friends. What could go any better?

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