Intern Perspective: I’m Not Lucky, I Earned This
Dismantling a Common Affliction Experienced by Women: Imposter Syndrome
Summer 2018 is a summer I will never forget. The Women’s Foundation of Colorado (WFCO) opened their doors to a summer intern in the communications team. I wanted the internship more than anything, but after receiving the wonderful news that I, Becca Alfaro, was the chosen applicant, I couldn’t help but think, I’m so lucky.
There, dwindling in the back of my mind, was my imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the feeling that successes have come by chance or luck rather than through skill and expertise. In 2017, it was estimated that over 70 percent of the U.S. population has experienced imposter syndrome, but women are more prone to it.
This feeling has continually impacted my work as a scholar, intern, and woman. I was constantly bombarded with the feeling that I didn’t deserve the amazing opportunity at WFCO. I was the lucky one rather than the right person for the job.
Thanks to my supervisors, Lisa and Camisha, I acknowledged my imposter syndrome and made strides to dismantle it. I’ve never had the opportunity to share my personal feelings of inadequacy like I did this summer. I even went so far as to write and share a poem to a large audience on my imposter syndrome. Camisha and Lisa were there to listen, and snap me back to reality. I am an intelligent, hard-working woman that earned her position as the communications intern at an amazing community foundation.
My peers and new friends within The Denver Foundation’s Nonprofit Internship Program have also played a key part in this process. I had genuine conversations with fellow interns about what our imposter syndromes felt and looked like for each of us. It is something we each deal with in varying degrees.
Through WFCO and The Denver Foundation, I have learned to take pride in my abilities and qualifications. Those feelings of doubt and inadequacy surface now and again, but I know now not to believe them.
As a wise woman once told me, “You weren’t lucky, you earned this.”
Thank you, WFCO.