I, like many other women my age, have been a long-time sufferer of “imposter syndrome.”
As a self-described bubbly, enthusiastic, sometimes goofy person that loves bright colors, fashion, coffee, puppies, glitter, and all other “girly” things, it can be easy to find myself second guessing whether I fit in with my straight-laced, academic-minded peers.
I’ve always been interested in history, english, politics and math. I’ve always achieved excellent grades and strived for a merit scholarship in college, but even after receiving a merit scholarship and attending a well-respected university, I sometimes felt out of place. I felt this way when I began my career, too.
When I first began working as an intern in Washington D.C, I was thrilled to meet like minded women. I thought it would be wonderful to meet fellow Lilly Pulitzer-lovers who also happen to know a ridiculous amount about politics.
Instead I found myself in an office filled with women in black suits, talking about the current state of affairs in the Middle East. I was the one in a hot pink pencil skirt and polka dotted top. Even though I could keep up with political conversations with the best of them, I still stood out.
I was in a sorority, I attended a state school, I carried a pink Kate Spade purse and an FFL coffee tumbler. I always wore pink lipstick, pink heels, and pearls.
So I felt silly, almost childish, compared to the women I worked with. The comments from them came rolling in, and they stung:
“I attended (insert private university here), so I have to be taken seriously. I guess you don’t have to worry about that at The University of Alabama, which is why you think it’s okay to wear pink to work.”
“You can’t have possibly learned that much in your classes. You were in a sorority after all. Don’t sorority girls just party and wear glitter? I didn’t think sorority girls took school seriously.”
“I’m planning for a long career in D.C, so I’m not really here to play Presidential Barbie, like you are.”
“I’m surprised you even know anything about politics, given the way you float around the office in your frilly dresses.”