Biophysical Society Bulletin | April 2021

Career Development

Navigating Imposter Syndrome “All I can see is everything I’m doing wrong that is a sham and a fraud.” — Don Cheadle

helped me through some hard times: Recognize the Feeling. Sure, this may sound silly, but some- times we get caught up in our emotions and don’t focus on what is causing them. Being consciously aware that we are experiencing Imposter Syndrome enables us to take the next steps. Keep Track of Your Success. One of the best ways to respond to your inner voice telling you, “I just got lucky, I don’t belong in this position,” is to write a list of all your qualifications that matched the job listing or think about all the education, career, and training milestones you have achieved so far. For me, constantly updating my CV allows me to keep visual track of my accomplishments, education, and skills. I keep a version of my CV that I label my “Everything CV.” It is version that in- cludes every single tiny detail of my education, research, and outreach achievements, even the ones that may be irrelevant to future job applications. Watching my list of achievements continuously grow helps keep Imposter Syndrome at bay. Talk About It. Yes, shout it from the rooftops if you must, but you probably don’t have to. If you bring up Imposter Syndrome with your friends, peers, and even your mentors, you will find that you are not alone. Sometimes knowing you’re not alone in your experiences can make them less overwhelming and working through your emotions with others can be helpful. Embrace It. I’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome for as long as I can remember, and sometimes the only way I can get myself out of that funk is by telling myself, “Okay, I feel like an imposter because I don’t know XYZ, so let’s learn it!” I hope that as a community we can build a strong support system for everyone. Since Imposter Syndrome is most often triggered and reinforced by external factors, working to increase minority representation in all areas and to foster an environment focused on learning and self-fulfillment is the only way to eradicate Imposter Syndrome. — Molly Cule

Many people struggle with “Imposter Syndrome” at least at one point in their life, and many confess that they contin- ue to feel like an imposter throughout their entire career. This feeling can creep up when we are alone working on

a project and feel like nothing is going right, or it can take hold in a lecture hall when you find yourself surrounded by people who just seem like they know more than you. Research sug- gests that Imposter Syndrome in graduate students is most common among people with minority status regardless of whether that status is a product of their gender, race, eth- nicity, or socioeconomic background (Cokley, K., et al., 2013. https:/ We all need to take some time and try to understand why so many among us feel this way and how we can all work through it. The first thing we need to do is find the root of these feelings. Personally, I find that the biggest contributor to the imposter feeling is people discounting their own skills! We all study, practice, and train and then when we use these skills, we don’t give ourselves the proper credit because it is “easy” for us. We have this misconception that everything impres- sive has to be hard, all the time. The truth of the matter is, it is only easy for you now because you have developed your knowledge and skills. To almost everyone else, it is still diffi- cult and impressive. We can also trap ourselves in a vicious cycle of imposter syndrome by thinking negatively about ourselves when we don’t have all the answers or fail at a particular task. There may be many causes for people to develop a negative internal monologue including unsupportive family, traumatic experi- ences, or even fear of failure on the scholastic level in primary and secondary school. There are many tips on the internet for dealing with Imposter Syndrome, and as a personal sufferer, I can tell you that they are mostly easier said than done. Here are the tips that have

Numbers By the The first ever BPS Virtual Annual Meeting 2021 had 60 exhibitors, 18 sponsors, and 13 exhibitor presentations.

April 2021



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