It’s an adage familiar to any aspiring jazz musician. When you start trying to play jazz, you’re pretending, but pretend for long enough, and you’re doing it for real. Fake it ’till you make it.
Since starting my first degree some six years ago, I’ve felt like something of an outsider in academia. Some of that is due to being a mature student; some is due to being an atheist in a divinity department; and some is due to the “unusual” subject matter of my research. But some of it is just a feeling that all the others are cleverer than me. Now that may well be true; but I asked a few of them, and they all felt exactly the same way.
So we’re all pretending to be scholars, and if we pretend well enough, it gets to be true.