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Imposter Syndrome at a PWI

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like you weren’t good enough? Have you ever had a voice in your head tell you that you weren’t qualified? Well, you are not the only one.

In fact, the term is referred to as “imposter syndrome” and was coined by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A to which they describe as an “internal experience of intellectual phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.”

Essentially, imposter syndrome is when one’s subconscious mind continuously feeds doubts on their skills, accomplishments and talents. This commonly happens in places such as institutions and work environments. It’s the sentiments of not being accepted, feeling as though you are less qualified. No matter how qualified and talented you may be, it seems almost impossible to flush these uncertainties out. P.O.C’s, like myself, often are most vulnerable to this debilitating syndrome. Frankly, this is largely due to the fact that imposter syndrome is not just the voices in your heads. We experience it on a day to day basis in a society that tells us we do not belong.

Imposter syndrome is a common occurrence in PWI's (predominantly white institutions). There have been many instances in the Queen’s community where I may have been the only person of colour in a classroom, in a meeting, and even at parties. The thoughts that transcend are often those of me feeling like I don’t belong where I am. How else am I supposed to feel when this message is conveyed subliminally and sometimes even outright.

The truth is, you are present, and you belong where you are. You are deserving of opportunities and stepping into any space reserved for your talents. Your accomplishments, and skill sets are all evidence that you are more than capable of completing the tasks that you set your mind to. So, the next time that you are feeling as though you are unworthy of your achievements, tell the voice in your head that you are more than enough and continue to believe in yourself and all of your talents.

A wise man once said “acknowledge your fear, understand it, and then get comfortable existing in a space with it.” - Allie Dattilio

Written by: Lauree Saint-Elien & Sara Jamal

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