Impostor Syndrome

Friday 1:30pm-2:45pm TSU - Humphries: 13
Round Table Discussion


Sharon Browning, Baylor University
Imposter syndrome is a perception of inadequacy, self-doubt, or fraudulence often experienced by even the highest achievers. Left unchallenged, it may hinder confidence, career development, or relationships. This roundtable discussion will address common causes, challenges, and strategies for addressing imposter syndrome.

Situations where participants encountered imposter syndrome:

* Master's thesis defense - blanked on basic concepts

* Flight training - I could fly the plane but not recite the FAR's like the guys

* Getting into this conference as a presenter

* Seeing other students that seemed better prepared

* Teaching a class for the 1st time and feeling that I am only one chapter ahead of my students and unable to answer questions

* I switched disciplines - into geology. I still feel like I don't know enough/won't know enough

* New situations (new job, student, disclipline, professional development class, every lecture, developing new courses).

* How did I get this tenure track job?

* Being hired as a research assistant and wondering if the work I do is "good enough" or good...but yet later my advisor is genuinely happy with my work.

* Talking with graduate students in some program about research and them knowing more than me

* Being only interested in geoscience education, with low interest in other things most of the geology department does (sedimentology, etc.). Am I good enough if I only want to research geoscience-ed?

* I only have my master's thesis.

* I just teach at a community college.

* I am dramatically insecure about my ability to do research/be a leader. How will that affect my career as a scientist?

* I wouldn't have gotten into grad school if my advisor didn't have that grant - I'm not as "good" as the others.

Strategies discussed:

* Fake it till you make it

* Involvement in educational communities and organizations

- Sharing with peers/mentors

* mentors have indicated talent

* talking helps to normalize experiences

* how others have learned

* ask for help/feedback on work

* support from colleagues

* Reflection

- reminding yourself you were chosen to be there

- changing inner dialogue - recognize dismissive words (just, only)

- listing concrete accomplishments on CV/Resume

- keeping past successes in mind

-set small goals to achieve weekly

* Other

- take time to reward yourself/relax

- primary literature review of imposter syndrome

* References

The Imposter Phenomenon, Jaruwan Sakulku and James Alexander. Journal of Behavorial Science, 2011, vol. 6, No. 1, pp 75-97. Good literature review.