Imposter Syndrome

 

Imposter syndrome is the chronic feeling of fraudulence and self-doubt that overrides any sense of feelings of success or other external proof that proves one’s accomplishment. I suffer from imposter syndrome myself ever since I got accepted into UC Irvine. Every once in a while, I have the persistent question of whether or not I deserve to be at UC Irvine, making me constantly feel that I was lucky during the admission process. Although I had several achievements during my high school career, it did not feel it was enough to be accepted into UC Irvine, especially when I have friends who had similar or better stats who did not get accepted into UC Irvine. What was it that differentiated me from them? Was it just pure luck?

Often times, imposter phenomenon is common amongst college students and those of higher education because of the competitive environment, lack of mentorship and scholarly isolation (Parkman, 2016). Students seek validation from higher authority to prove one’s success. However, due to the high-stress environment and the fear of failure, this increases a student’s self-doubt of their own successes. The endless internal accomplishments to prove to loved ones of one’s success or for oneself can cause one to be blindsided and further increase one’s fear of failure. This results in questioning one’s own competence from any minuscule mistakes. 

According to American Psychological Association, imposter phenomenon is frequent amongst highly successful people who are members of underrepresented groups in their profession, like female scientists or minority students (Weir, 2013). Underrepresented groups feel an underlying pressure to prove to others they are enough no matter how successful they may be. These self-doubts arise from being a perfectionist. Those with imposter phenomenon are afraid that if they do not live up to people’s expectations, they will be discovered as a fraud for success.  Imposter syndrome is an ongoing cycle of keeping face and doubting one’s capabilities. 

As admissions and the workforce become more aggressive, the number of students and employees who will face imposter feelings increases―negatively impacting student’s and employee’s mental health. It promotes a lack of belongingness and competence. Therefore, the discussion of imposter syndrome should be more prevalent amongst colleges and workforces. As a result, this should positively influence students’ and employees’ mental health, lift immense pressures of oneself and encourage a more stimulating, healthy environment that benefits all. 

 

References: 

Weir, K. (2014). Feel like a fraud? Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud.