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Imposter Syndrome and the Lessons Learned

Imposter syndrome is something that we have all dealt with during our life. Having feelings of not belonging, feelings of being out of place or having a tiny voice in the back of our heads saying we can't do something. Sometimes it is easier to succumb to those feelings and convince ourselves that we are the frauds that we claim to be. It can be debilitating and place us in situations that are often too comfortable and leave us stagnant.

I know that I am guilty of that. I have seen where my imposter syndrome has led me to not seek opportunities or take risks. I think my imposter syndrome started in college, I can recall a vivid conversation I had with my Aunt about the difficulties that I was having with a calculus class. I remember saying "It's too hard", "I'm not understanding the material", I used every excuse in the book to convince myself and her that I was not cut out for the path to becoming a physics major. My phony excuses did not phase my Aunt. She laughed in my face (as she usually does when I call to complain to her about how "hard" life is), probably called me a millennial and reminded me of how we give up so easily.

So I stuck it out and I passed the class. I think I got a B, but you see how imposter syndrome works, it had convinced me that getting a B wasn't good enough to continue taking math classes. The "pep" talk that my Aunt had given me at the beginning of the fall semester had been chiseled away by late-night study sessions, piles of homework, grueling finals, and western Mass winter blues S.A.D.ness.

However, I digress and learned a few valuable lessons about how to manage my imposter syndrome.

  1. When I find myself in doubt, about my abilities, performance, or in unfamiliar and new environments. I stop and say: "Tamia who told you that?" If I can't answer that question I know it's my imposter syndrome and weave myself out from that mindstate.

  2. Self-sabotage is real and if you don't stop it in its tracks before it begins, you may encounter many missed opportunities.

  3. You are not alone. 9 times out of 10, your peers may be going through similar feelings, about their own imposter syndrome. Be vulnerable you may often be able to get over that hurdle of imposter syndrome with the help of others.


This blog is part of my journey with physics, art, and everything in between. You can find a new post here every Sunday. Here are some upcoming topics and things that I will be talking about later this month.

August 2nd: Being Seen: A Conversation with Dr. Simone Hyater-Adams

August 9th: TBA

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