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Fake feelings

Imposter syndrome is not new. No, I’m not talking about a condition that secret agents get after they retire but…

By Anna Fong , in Blogs Health and wellness , on February 14, 2008

Imposter syndrome is not new.

No, I’m not talking about a condition that secret agents get after they retire but an actual phenomenon that has been studied by social psychologists since the 1970’s.

An article in the New York Times online website caught my eye, it was called “Feeling like a Fraud? At Times, Maybe You Should”.

It mentioned how graduate students and other professionals often have fears they are faking their competency and only received high marks or success from being lucky.

Their fear of failure is so strong they often think they do not belong in their program or profession.
Women are especially prone to this condition but there are men who feel this way too.

I feel this explains why some of us in graduate school often have moments of doubt. It’s very difficult to convince a person they have the skills to succeed when they think they are faking their success.

So I think in order to help resolve these feelings we should include some professional or self-development classes as part of the graduate programs. Not just optional classes or workshops that graduates must take outside of regular class times.

If it works well, we may see less graduates having a hard time at the start of their programs.

Related blog:

Imposter syndrome blog


  • I agree absolutely with that statement and it has to do with the fact that the “school” mentality is sometimes not in alignment with what you think society expects or your personal morality. I would like to see more stories out of the Thunderbird on breaking science happening at UBC, ask senior professors at UBC how they think the change is going with all the new developments. All I see at the Thunderbird are negative issues of Vancouver. This may have more to do with the way the teachers are leading you. I would rather see much more on the arts as UBC was once famous for their very artsy and creative side as well as genious in science. The Thunderbird seems to have taken a very conservative and political bent as of late. There is exciting stuff going on all around you it would be sad if your newspaper had the mentality that “that is taboo” to write about.

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