Prepared by: Sharel Raj A/P Jonson Raju, Laila Dina Amalia Purba, Nur Sri Dewi binti Md Hisham, Haszuraidah binti Ishak
Imposter syndrome is reportedly becoming more prevalent in academic settings. The recent pandemic has naturally raised insecurity among university students, and online education has made it more difficult to develop community ties. It is not surprising that certain students may suffer from imposter syndrome during their postgraduate journey.
In an attempt to overcome feelings of inadequacy among students, the Postgraduate Student Society Faculty of Science (PGSS FS) has organized a Webex-based online sharing session on 19th September 2021, featuring a well-known Consultant Psychiatrist from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ahmad Hafeez Ahmad Hafiz Abdul Rashid.
Dr. Ahmad Hafeez emphasized the signs of imposter syndrome that were originally associated with high-achieving individuals, resulting in a high level of stress, perfectionism traits, and low self-esteem. This may lead to inter- and intra-personal conflict among students and academics, as well as a shift in one’s perception of others.
Therefore, the speakers highlighted the importance of overcoming the conflict and others’ perceptions in terms of the imposter syndrome. It is especially important in the era of COVID-19 pandemics that has shifted the world’s perception towards mental health awareness.
Students have been one of the most highly affected groups as their research has been put on hold. As the nation has proceeded towards the endemic phase, students are gradually reverting to their traditional norms academically and non-academically. Students with imposter syndrome frequently believe that they do not deserve their achievements or that their outstanding marks are an accident.
Unfortunately, imposter syndrome is not limited to academic environments. A sense of alienation can also influence social settings, causing students to withdraw and avoid establishing connections with other students, which has raised mental health awareness.
In this program, Dr. Ahmad Hafeez inspired and motivated the audience to get back on track with their research post-COVID-19 pandemic. Impostor syndrome affects people’s self-esteem. Additionally, it can cause anxiety and despair. And many of the coping techniques that students develop in order to manage their emotions ultimately impact their mental health and academic performance.
One of the most important aspects of combating imposter syndrome is maintaining a healthy balance between personal and academic life. The speaker emphasized that all students must learn when to take a break from their demanding research schedules. It is recommended that students enjoy their minor victories and concentrate on positive growth. Even the smallest accomplishments deserve to be celebrated. This will provide students with a much-needed confidence boost and lessen the impact of any self-criticism they may have.
On their academic track, each student progresses at a unique rate, and they will certainly encounter additional times of uncertainty, and that is okay. Every student can continue to develop the skills necessary to overcome the obstacles and will grow from the experience stronger. The students were admitted to this university for a reason; they belong here.