Thursday, March 5, 2015

Teach Your Kids About Imposter Syndrome

Confidence can be a particularly hard thing to have in science where so much emphasis is placed on natural brilliance. Failures, no matter how small, are easy to consider a failure of your own intelligence.
Frankly... that's bullshit. And this bullshit mentality of "ruh-roh Major Revisions? I AM ALL THE STUPID" is something that strikes women particularly hard, and may be partially to blame for low female and minority involvement in STEM fields. 

Many of the undergraduate students Meaghan interacts with (including ones in her lab) shy away from grant writing, publications and school applications on the basis of not being "Good Enough." Meaghan has overheard more than just a handful of comments along the lines of "that's just so intimidating!" and "but my GPA isn't that high" or "but so-and-so did this and they're so much more accomplished than me." She decided that for the lab meeting she was running this term, the lab would sit down and talk about the perils of interpersonal comparison and low confidence. The lab was pretty interesting, and hopefully at least a little helpful, so we are presenting this lesson plan here for our readers as well as their friends, students, and coworkers.