A Blog of Writing Resources from The University of Scranton's Writing Center

Tag: Writing Anxiety

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is that feeling of “I don’t belong here” specifically because “I don’t know enough.” It’s a common type of anxiety experienced by graduate students as novice experts in their field.  It can prevent students from making the most of their educational experience because they are afraid to try new things or attempt challenges for fear of judgement. They feel like a fraud, and worry that someone will realize they’re a fraud, even though that’s not true.  If you are accepted into a graduate program, you deserve to be there. You have earned your place there, even if you sometimes feel  out of place there.

It’s important to remember that this feeling is common when you are surrounded by academics who are experts in the field and who have had years to hone their skill-sets. It’s unfair to compare yourself to them or to others in your program.    Sometimes the feeling is so intense that it becomes a barrier that cripples a student’s academic performance.  Check out the resources below to learn how to manage and overcome “Imposter Syndrome.”

Here’s an article that describes the common symptoms of Imposter Syndrome and how to combat them.  

This is an infographic with some suggestions on how to  manage feelings of Imposter Syndrome. 

Talking out an Essay

by Mary-Kate Coniku

Whenever someone comes to me for help with flow, sentence structure, grammar, wording, or “making sure it sounds good”, I usually say the same two things. First, I say “just write the way you speak”. I have found that many of the people who come to me with concerns such as those above, are usually very eloquent speakers, they just struggle with putting things on paper. If you write the way you speak, more often than not your point will get across more clearly than if you are actively trying to sound like something they are not. When you have your ideas on paper, then consultants can help add some punctuation here and there to make it formal. The second thing I say is “read it aloud to yourself”. When you read your own writing in your head it will always make sense to you. No one knows what you are trying to say better than you. That is why consultants often read papers aloud, so that we can both hear when something may not sound quite right or be unclear, and to get another reader’s perspective.


Since it’s often easier to articulate your ideas verbally, it may be beneficial for you to use the “Dictate” feature in Microsoft Word.  It’s available in my.scranton when you access Office 365. It will even let you insert punctuation by saying the specific name of the punctuation mark. This is a great option for pre-writing and drafting, and it can help eliminate some of your writing anxiety, since you can dictate your ideas while taking a walk or exercising at the gym or while doing any other activity you enjoy. If you’re a slow typer, this resource can also save you a significant amount of time. Check it out!



Here’s a video on how to use it. 



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