Students gathered with their friends and peers alike, bonding over shared struggles and experiences that have shaped them into the person they are today and are on the road to becoming.

 On Feb. 26,  the National Association of Black Accountants invited PSUC students to talk about the phenomenon of imposter syndrome with guest speaker Tony Rice II in the Center for Equality, Equity and Inclusion

Imposter syndrome is the phenomenon where individuals constantly doubt their accomplishments despite their success, and are afraid of being viewed as a fraud in their achievements. 

This phenomenon has been known to especially affect people of color because of the disconnect and inequality that still exists in the workplace today.  

The underlying cause of this syndrome is not a straightforward answer, but the origins of it can date back decades ago due to the racial and gender inequality that existed and still exists today.

Kawuan Foster is a senior accounting major who attended NABA’s event.  

Basically, us as black folks, specifically, we put ourselves at the bottom ‘cause that’s what society tells us,” Foster said. “I feel like it’s a confidence thing and a mental thing.  

The talk with students placed an emphasis on racial inequality as well as gender inequality, and how these experiences affect us in the present day and in this spectacle of imposter syndrome.

“I think a lot of it is just marginalization, particularly for groups of people,” Rice said.  “Specifically, I talk about the black race just because that’s how I was brought up but a lot of it is just historical marginalization of people, and this idea that one group of people is better or more privileged than another, and that being ingrained over the years until the point now that we’re in the same spaces but not treated equally.” 

At the talk, students were placed into groups based on what characteristics of imposter syndrome most resonated with them.  Qualities included fear of one’s “stupidity” being discovered in group settings or being seen as a fraud.  Students shared their personal experiences with each other.  

After the exercise was over, Rice asked the audience whether they felt better and more relieved after sharing their stories.  

Almost all hands went up and he explained how this exercise was like therapy, and that most of the time we simply need to talk to someone and discuss our concerns to feel better about a certain situation.  Rice addressed the audience and many shared how they felt lighter from their stresses.

Cheyene Richards is a senior hospitality managing and marketing major and president of NABA.  

“Self-love and self-awareness is a life-long journey, there’s so many errors in your life that you’re going to have to keep picking yourself back up after people put you down or certain circumstances put you down,” Richards said.  “Also, we’re all in this together, it’s not a fight.  As students, as black and brown people, as people in general.”    

Malika James-Vassell is a senior accounting and business administration major and vice president of NABA.  

“It’s not only in the corporate world, not only in the business world, but in your everyday relationships, in your everyday interactions,” James-Vassell said.  “You just feel like you’re not 100 percent supposed to be there because you feel like someone else is doing a better job.”  

The ultimate goal of this event was to encourage and remind students that they are worth it, and all of their efforts matter.  

The conversation educated PSUC students on the phenomenon of imposter syndrome, and in turn it has created an environment where more and more people resonate with the characteristics of this syndrome.  

“It really deals with your inner-self and how you think.  He mentioned something, the only thing blocking you is you, and that happens, mentally first,” James-Vassell said. “So I feel like if you do have that self-reflect, that therapy session with somebody, I feel like you can overcome it.” 

  

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