Athens, OH 13 February 2017 –
This past weekend, I spent my Saturday attending the Women in Graduate School Conference which was hosted by the Ohio University Women’s Center at Nelson Commons. My friend Stephanie, a fellow ChE major, told me about the conference because one of her friends helped organize it.
Although I was initially hesitant to spend my entire Saturday at a conference instead of enjoying sibs weekend with my friends, I have to say that the conference surpassed all of my expectations, and I am so glad that I went. There were a variety of different panels throughout the day which covered a wide range of topics: we learned about presenting ourselves professionally, budgeting in graduate school, and succeeding in and out of academia.
For me, the best part of the day was listening to the keynote speaker, Dr. Valerie Young, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women. Dr. Young spent the day talking to us about impostor syndrome—that uncanny feeling that you sometimes get which tells you that you’re a fraud, not qualified to be where you are in life, and that someone is going to find out at any second.
I have to say, it was a huge relief to hear that I am by no means the first person to feel this way. In fact, around 70 percent of people—men and women—suffer from impostor syndrome. We talked about how the voices in our head tell us that we aren’t good enough, and how we should deal with them.
Within the next two weeks, I will be interviewing for PhD programs in biomedical engineering at two universities, and I have to say that Dr. Young’s talk could not have come at a better time for me. She reminded each of us that we are capable and qualified at a time in our lives when many of us are most doubtful of our abilities. I am so thankful to the Ohio University Women’s Center for putting on this incredible event—spending the Saturday with a group of talented and passionate women was a breath of fresh air and I felt lucky to be in attendance.