Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. [Thanks Wikipedia]
Rupa says I have this and I don’t think she’s wrong. I visited Columbia’s campus for Days on Campus. They paid for my flight and paired me up with a freshman hostess. The purpose of Days on Campus is to woo admitted students and convince them to choose your university instead of any others that may have accepted their application. One night the university hosted a lavish dinner for admitted students with deans and faculty sprinkled in to each table. While we ate, before the speakers took to the podium, the dean at my table suggested we go around and share the quality or whatever that each of us thought got us accepted to Columbia University in the city of New York. We were all 18 and these kids had founded organizations for underserved youth, helped search for cures and support victims of sickle cell disease, and spearheaded efforts I’d never even heard of. I sat there sweating and praying for some miracle to save me from my turn. All I did was cover the basics; I earned decent grades, logged community services hours, took the SAT until my score was almost ivy-worthy, and I participated in sports that didn’t make cuts. A speaker interrupted our awful icebreaker just before my turn to share.
The woman who checked me in to the dinner recognized my name and identified herself as my admissions officer – she said she fought for my acceptance to the university. After dinner I found her again and told her about my table’s little activity and asked why she chose to take on my application. “We always consider where you’re coming from,” she said. I’m sure she meant to be encouraging, but I heard, “you’re not actually good enough, but you’re poor and have a minority parent so we’ll make an exception.” I believed and internalized my interpretation of her words. I never felt like I was supposed to be there. I lived in constant fear of doing or saying something that might reveal to my peers and professors that I was unfit and unqualified.
Anyway, this is coming up again now because I’m applying for an internship and I am freaking out about it. That’s all for now. I have children to attend to.
Ta-ta for now,
P.S. I promise to dive into the sex and drugs later. Need to be in a certain mindset for that.