Feeling Like a Imposter: Imposter Syndrome in STEM

Many of you might know “Sheryl Sandberg” COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org. After spending more than 19 years in technological field she has confessed that she feels like an imposter at times. In her book ‘Lean In’ she wrote that,

‘Every time I took a test, I was sure that it had gone badly. And every time I didn’t embarrass myself or even excelled- I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again.’

This distrust in your own accomplishment and skills is known as Imposter Syndrome. Especially the women who are in STEM field, who are trying their best to compete in this male dominated field, she gets planted the seed in her head saying that ‘you’re only here just because you are a female’. This seed gets rooted inside our mind and we externalize our success and we are left with a fear of being exposed.

I vividly remember in my Engineering exam preparation classes, most of my female friends skipped the classes or skipped the whole engineering field before getting into it. The only thing they did was asked a simple question related to math and the teacher replied saying, ‘If you don’t even understand the basic concept, then you’ll not be able to join engineering.’ This very statement made them feel like a imposter sitting around the people who had basic concept and can grasp every word the teacher says.

How to identify you have Imposter Syndrome?

  • Doubting your skills and abilities.
  • Fear of not being able to live up to the expectations.
  • Denial of the praise and accomplishment.
  • Over preparation because of fear of being exposed.

What can we do to shatter our Imposter Syndrome?

  • Realize you are making the difference.
  • Become consciously aware of the conversation on your head when you feel like a imposter.
  • Step back from that thought and look at the situation from border perspective.
  • Develop a habit to forgive yourself while making a mistake and learn from it.

Imposter Syndrome has a way you feel to discredit your accomplishment and skill. But let’s take a step back and recognize and remember those moments in your life where you made a smallest accomplishment and let’s celebrate it.

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