Thoughts on Post-Conference Feelings and Imposter Syndrome

Hello everyone, I posted this thread on my social media sites, and it received some attention, so I thought it might be worth sharing here, and I will also elaborate a little more because I can do that in a blog!

It started as just thinking aloud, so I began with “Important post-conference reminder (mostly for myself, but I though it might help someone else):” but it has evolved and many people seemed to find it helpful. I hope you do too!


It is wonderful to be engaged in a field where I am able to meet others and get excited about their projects and ideas for the future! I am privileged to have such opportunities, so I want to get everything I can out of them. Importantly, then, I want to concentrate on keeping the joy that comes from these events and not let it feed imposter syndrome!

It is easy, especially when I am feeling melancholy after a wonderful conference ends, to make a harmful transition from “these people are remarkable and I am fortunate to meet them” to “I’m not as remarkable and I don’t know if my project is worth doing”. Ideally, I want to sit with the first thought, and avoid the second.

This is difficult, though, especially for introverts. It is okay to feel sad and even a little depressed after “being up” for several days. It is normal, and many people experience the same feeling. Allow yourself to be sad, this is part of life. The trick is to allow yourself the time you need to recover without allowing this sadness to combine with the thoughts that are harmful.

These times of recovery are often the times when doubts are most likely to come up. I struggle with this a lot! I will give you some things that I have learned to help myself, though I still struggle, and maybe they will help you!

Things to remember:

  1. Forgive yourself: it is okay to be sad. This just means that you have enjoyed the past several days and the people you have met!
  2. Thoughts like this are something that a lot of people struggle with. Remember that rebounding will happen, these thoughts are temporary!
  3. Most importantly, reaching out to others is the best way to help imposter syndrome!

Talking about imposter syndrome doesn’t make the feelings go away entirely, but knowing that you are not alone eases a lot of the stress and anxiety associated with it.

If you don’t have anyone to reach out to, message me!

Tolkien 2019 Announcement

Hello friends, I wanted to share some exciting news with you.

I will be attending the Tolkien 2019 conference in Birmingham, England this August!Tolkien-2019-logo

I will be presenting a paper entitled “The Lord of the Rings, Young Readers, and Questions of Genre”. I would love for anyone interested in my research to attend!

I am very much looking forward to meeting up with friends and colleagues, as well as participating in the largest event ever hosted by the Tolkien Society!

If you would like more information, the event staff have posted a full schedule of events!

Kalamazoo Report (2018)

I have recently returned from the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, where I attended several wonderful paper presentations and had the opportunity to network and promote my PhD Research!

Highlights:

There were so many great papers and resources shared that I do not have enough time or space to recount them all, so here are a few that are easier to share quickly:

Tolkien fellowship at dinner

I was fortunate enough to have great company each evening at dinner. Here is a picture of one such gathering:

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Pictured (left to right): Kris Swank, Diedre Dawson, me, John Rateliff, Andrew Higgins, Jane Chance, Yoko Hemmi, and my PhD chair Dimitra Fimi. Photo taken by Douglas Anderson.

Tolkien Art Index

Erik Mueller-Harder shared this phenomenal resource that he has been working diligently to compile. It is a standardized list of Tolkien’s images. The usefulness and descriptiveness of the index makes it practical and influential. It should become the standard reference for Tolkien’s images.

Find the index here: http://tai.vermontsoftworks.com/

Tales After Tolkien Society

I was elected a Vice-President of the society, an honor that I hope to live up to!

Many Meeting

I had several meaningful interactions and can’t wait to get to work on some of the ideas I brought home from the conference! The encouragement and insight of scholars whose work I admire is truly one of the greatest assets of a conference like this. I hope everyone made it home safe!