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TOPIC: Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome 13 Dec 2015 11:13 #8844

  • ashleen.k
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We recently talked about Impostor Syndrome in class when we discussion Katharine Graham and her memoir about feeling like she didn’t belong as a publisher for the Washington Post. So when I saw the article “Learning to Deal With the Impostor Syndrome” in the New York Times last week, I couldn’t resist reading it. My boyfriend just finished his PhD and has suffered from this issue every single time he had to present his work to his mentor and colleagues along the way. I was really interested to find out how to deal with these feelings.

They described Impostor Syndrome as, “a feeling of phoniness in people who believe they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” This phenomenon has been experienced in all varieties of successful people, from authors to grad students to even presidents. Feeling humility about one’s work is natural. However, when you discount the value of something simply because you’re good at it can be potentially crippling.

With the headline of the article was worded and the long buildup, I was expecting helpful, or at least interesting, suggestions on how to deal with Impostor Syndrome. Instead, they summed up their “advice” with a story about Buddha and Mara, a demon, in which he invites her in to have tea with him instead of worrying about her mulling around watching him in the bushes. Basically, their suggestion was just to, “invite it in and remind ourselves why it’s here and what it means.”
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Impostor Syndrome 13 Dec 2015 11:37 #8846

  • jael.g
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When I first learned about the imposter syndrome, I was surprised to find that this phenomenon relates a lot to the way I feel whenever I get a high grade, get hired, or reach any high achievements. I was so shocked because I never would have imagined that other people feel this way too. When I get rewarded or recognized for something I've done, I often attribute my accomplishment to chance, or my ability to pretend like I know what I'm doing. This happens to me at work, in school, and, basically, in life.

Last week I was telling one of my male friends about this syndrome and before I could mention that the syndrome is most commonly suffered by women, he interrupted and proudly said, "I've NEVER felt that way." Once I explained that the syndrome affects mostly women, he realized how inappropriate his previous comment sounded to me. But this just goes to show that a lot of men feel the opposite. They actually have the ability to take pride in their accomplishments, to recognize that their hard work pays off, and to realize that they are smart, capable people. I knew that women suffered from many effects of the male-female dichotomy, but I knew would've imagined that it would also affect the positive side of women's lives.
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Impostor Syndrome 13 Dec 2015 12:59 #8854

  • alan.r
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I can see why you would say that men feel the opposite. However, I feel it is best to remember that a lot boys/men have ego-builders. What I mean by that is that men feel that they have to be confident in what they do; this can be seen when men are always told to be confident talking to women. Also, boys are usually raised that way. In a song by Nas called "Daughters", he says
Na, the way mothers feel for they sons, how fathers feel for they daughters, when he date he straight chip off his own papa, when she date, we wait behind the door with the sawed off, 'cause we think no one is good enough for our daughters, love.
To put it simply, when boys go out with a girl, the parents are cool with it; when the girl goes out with a boy, nobody approves. Two points can be made from Nas's song. One point is that one can see that the boy is already given the privilege of building confidence because parents approve of his date with a girl -- as if it is an accomplishment. Second is when Nas writes that no one is good enough for a father's daughter. Because Nas writes no boy is good enough for a father's daughter, he shows how he may have a little impostor syndrome; this is because even if a boy has accomplished something in his life, Nas (and other fathers) will still feel that they are not good enough for their daughter. In short, everyone may have a little impostor syndrome.
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Impostor Syndrome 16 Mar 2016 21:56 #9188

  • Cammie01
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Impostor Syndrome? This is the first time I've heard of it decided like that but I can relate. I could have to say that most of what I do I feel like someone else better than me should get the credit. I even find myself down playing my work or pointing out , if I worked with a group, everyone's else hard work then my own. I just attributed it to, because I can admit to having it, low self esteem, but maybe that's apart of it to. Its also interesting that women get this. Just another example of the problems women go to in an male dominated society.
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