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Lara Rosales

February 19, 2020

Are you part of a minority group? Do you find yourself thinking you are an impostor? Do you sometimes feel like you do not belong in that major, that internship, that job? It is a very normal feeling.

Minority groups —POC, Latinxs, women, LGBTQ+ people, among others— usually find themselves in situations where they are made to feel like less. They are treated as inferior beings who do not really deserve the place they are at. It is something that has happened for many decades and we still fight to overcome. For that very reason, a lot of us deal with something called imposter syndrome. What is this? It can be described as “a psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud."

For many decades, minority groups were not allowed into certain places. POC had designated areas. Latinxs were not treated as equals. Women were not allowed into universities. LGBTQ+ individuals had to hide their identities. The list could go on and on because the restrictions for these groups were never ending. Each group had multiple people fighting for them; fighting for their right to be treated just like everybody else. To this day, we are still fighting to be respected as equals; to be seen as equals. But we have never given up and we have always been very resilient. For that very reason, we have been able to open paths for ourselves in places where we were not allowed into. One of those places is college.

POC and women are allowed to attend whichever college they want. Latinxs are being the first in their families to pursue a career and becoming college graduates. LGBTQ+ people are being more open about their true selves by creating support groups or different activities in their universities. We are showing up in places where we were never supposed to. We are raising our voice in places where we were supposed to stay quiet. And classrooms are the main stage for this revolution we have kept going for decades.

That is when it gets tricky. When we are in class, speaking up, sharing our knowledge, and succeeding at what we love. That is when the imposter syndrome kicks in and we become afraid someone will find out we are a fraud who was never supposed to be there. But that voice –that tiny little voice that tells you, you should not be there– is wrong and you should always overpower it with the bigger voice which tells you that is where you deserve to be. It is very hard because for years you were told you were undeserving. For decades, our people –whichever minority group you belong to– were pushed aside and away from success. You came in to fill a place that was not designed for you but that does not mean you do not deserve it. You earned that space by following the steps of all the warriors who fought to make that spot yours.

Imposter syndrome has been around for many years but we had not started talking about it until very recently. It is nowadays that we see the problem and we face it. We surround ourselves with people who feel the same way and we remind each other that we are where we are meant to be. Sadly, it is a very common feeling among college students because minority groups were never told they had the right to succeed. But just because no one told us, it does not mean we cannot do it.

Next time you are in that classroom, that office, that award ceremony or wherever you may be, do not let the imposter syndrome win. Remind yourself that you are not an impostor. Remind yourself that you have earned all of your achievements. Remind yourself that you are not a fraud. Remind yourself that you are deserving of the place you are occupying and the praise you are receiving. 

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