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Dealing With Imposter Syndrome as a Woman in STEM

By: Gabriella Pearson

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like you’re Big-Bird in that conference room meme, except the people surrounding you are your (seemingly) super smart classmates, and the conference room is the science complex (*shudders*).  If your hand is raised, you’re not the only one; mine is right up there with you, girl.

According to the APA, up to 82% of people face these kinds of feelings which are known as imposter syndrome. While anyone can be affected by it, women and people of color are more likely to experience it.

If you feel like you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, here are some tips to help you overcome it:

  1. Get the facts straight. You did not just “get lucky,” and admissions did NOT make a mistake. Unless you pulled an Aunt Becky, you got into college because you worked your ass off and deserved to get in. When you’re among high-achieving people it can be easy to forget your own achievements, but remember that others’ success does not reflect the absence of your own.
  2. Separate your self-worth from your achievements. Ok, so maybe you could’ve done better on that Bio test while the person sitting next to you aced it. But before switching your major in despair, remember that just because you did badly on an assignment doesn’t mean you’re bad! Needing more practice on a topic and your redeeming qualities are independent of each other.
  3. Seek support. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, or mentor about how you’re feeling. They may be able to help you. Chances are, they probably went through something similar too!