Posted in Personal, Research

Taking out the Impostor

On May 16, ANC “Headstart” featured Karen Davila’s discussion with Professor Richard Heydarian of the possible implications a Duterte presidency  on the West Philippine Sea disputes, among other diplomatic matters. The train of thought and deeply-grounded opinions of Prof. Heydarian amazed me. He was naturally wise in expressing his arguments, which he said were encapsulated in his book about the international maritime relations of US and China on international maritime issues.

It led me to wonder: Will I have the same level of knowledge in Environmental Science?

I will obtain my Master’s Degree in Environmental Science next month; yet, I feel like an impostor: I feel like I do not know half of the thesis I have written within the last year. The last two months of revisions have driven me into a narrow view of my study and I have focused on different parts of the manuscript separately. Coherence was not a primary concern as I answered each revision point almost independently. Most revisions done were mechanical (simulation of models, data gathering) rather than knowledge-based (concepts, theories); I have not read the thesis comprehensively after my defense because all I want now is to complete the degree.

I plan on taking the Environmental Planning exam within the next two years, so at present, I am trying to incorporate a reading habit into my routine to build-up my knowledge. Yet, I cannot read leisurely; I always have the urging to take notes and view “just reading” a waste of my time; I do not trust my memory. I have read a lot of articles on improving reading habits and memory retention but I still experience what I would call reading anxiety. I need to renew my thinking into something positive: time spent productively is not time wasted (except when dedicated to mindless social media activities). Practice may be a missing ingredient.

The level of knowledge I seek could be measured by the ability to talk at length about daily issues in the context of environmental science concepts. I would like to be able to cite authors of scientific papers and books; I know it would sound nerdy at times. Presently, I frequently think of topics for studies while I read books, walk outside, and watch television. The issue I have is not on the scarcity of topics but on taking steps to write about them. However, I am confident that, in the near future, I will be like Prof. Heydarian: confident of my personal arguments on important diurnal issues. A PhD is not a prerequisite for me to contribute unique knowledge for my country. A do-now attitude must be in place, like how Nike, Shia, and many others strongly express.



I am an Environmental Scientist, Geographer, and Researcher. I am especially interested in urban phenomena and planning.

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