Owning My Imposter Syndrome

A blog post from SOLES MA in Higher Education Leadership Studies Ambassador, Meredith Mendez.

When I was accepted into USD, I thought the admissions committee had made an error in my acceptance. As I walked into my classes, I was afraid that anything I said would show my lack of confidence, and that I wasn’t smart enough to be there. It wasn’t until I attended a First-Generation Gathering hosted by the USD Graduate and Law Commons that I realized what I was experiencing was imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is a term derived from a study by Suzanne Imes & Pauline Clance. An individual with imposter syndrome will believe that they are not smart enough, even if they have accomplishments that demonstrate their competence and skill. Individuals will minimize their value and think they will be discovered for being phoney.

I was surprised to realize how many fellow graduate students were experiencing the same thing. Even staff and faculty had similar experiences, and many still experience imposter syndrome even after they’ve accomplished their degrees and career. Knowing this now, I feel like I’m more aware of when these thoughts enter my mind. Instead of focusing on the self doubt, I find stability and solace in expressing my experiences to my peers, and viewing my imposter syndrome as something I can overcome. I remind myself that I am enough, that I’ve learned and grown so much in the last year, and I will continue to do so.

For more information on imposter syndrome, check out this video: How Students of Color Confront Imposter Syndrome

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