Imposter Syndrome: "You're Not Alone"
As my journey through graduate school progresses, I occasionally find myself wondering why I was admitted. Surely, there must have been a mistake, a system error, anything?! If you can relate to this sentiment, you're not alone.
Imposter Syndrome is the psychological phenomenon that allows you, a skilled and successful person, to feel inadequate. Many people experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in their lives (even if they have undeniable qualifications) because self-doubt is natural. However, this doubt can lead to stress, anxiety, and the fear of failure. It’s important to realize that you are deserving of your current position, and working through these feelings provide an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
Tips for You: How to Address Imposter Syndrome
- You’re not alone—studies estimate that up to 70 percent of academic professionals have felt imposter syndrome at some point.
- Talk with others in your circle. Have a conversation about imposter syndrome with another graduate student or a colleague. Discussing your feelings can help you realize that you do, in fact, belong.
- Look for support. Think about someone outside of your field who you can look to for support and words of encouragement. Sometimes we operate on autopilot, so it’s valuable to hear from someone outside of our regular circles every once in a while.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Acknowledge that everyone is at different stages of their career, has diverse backgrounds and life experiences, and your strengths are unique and valid!
- For TAs or AIs, reach out to your students. Consider how you might open up a dialogue with your students about this topic. Be honest about your own experiences and invite them to respond.