Imposter syndrome is an inability to internalize one’s accomplishments, making it difficult for people to feel responsible for their successes and afraid of being exposed as a fraud. That nagging voice telling you that you only got an A on that test because the professor is an easy grader and you had an extra shot of espresso in your coffee that morning? That is imposter syndrome at work. And while everyone doubts themselves at times, imposter syndrome often affects first-generation, minority, or female students in academic settings, particularly once they have reached college. The same systems that have worked to shut these groups out of higher education are at play in their experience of imposter syndrome. Studies have also found that these nagging feelings of inadequacy can increase anxiety and negatively impact academic performance. If you don’t believe that you deserve your accomplishments, it’s easy to feel anxious about your classmates catching on.
Through our work with groups that are traditionally underrepresented in academia, Project Inspire helps students increase self-confidence and combat feelings of academic and professional insecurity. Both the Youth Empowerment and the Arts and Young Leaders Programs have a specific focus on self and community empowerment to help students not only feel confident in their abilities, but to feel confident in their ability to support and represent their communities. These programs also provide opportunities for our students to see themselves represented in their fields through our emphasis on mentorship. Project Inspire recognizes the importance of non-academic factors in student success and works to help bridge those gaps so our students feel supported and confident in their college journeys.
Post by Project Inspire guest blogger, Colette Tipper
Photo credit: rawdonfox (Flickr)