So…I’ve successfully completed Day 1 as a Mechanical Engineering graduate student without spontaneously combusting–I don’t know about you, but that’s progress. The title may seem a bit mysterious to those not familiar with me or my alter ego (cleverly disguised with the same name) “Abisola,” a competitive spoken word poet. “Barbie Syndrome” is a poem that I wrote a few years ago tackling the daunting psychological effects of growing up as a dark-skinned black woman amidst America’s long-held notions of beauty (watch me perform Barbie Syndrome). The Impostor Syndrome, however, is a well-documented psychological phenomenon that occurs when we find ourselves in an environment where we don’t believe in ourselves. The two definitely have overlap, and as a sufferer from both, knowing that I’m not alone makes it a smidgen more manageable. A fellow engineering student here at Stanford commented that the Impostor Syndrome is a very passive experience–no one is directly telling you that you are inadequate, however you inherit those feelings of doubt nonetheless. Marginalized identities tend to receive the worst of the effects. Sometimes experiencing it’s more aggressive form, the “Intruder Syndrome,” don’t worry a poem on that one is coming soon.
Words of Encouragement: You BELONG here. Everything in life happens for a reason, even the chaos in our lives turns out to have ordered repercussions. Embrace your current moment and shake off the negative feelings. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?