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PUBLISHED AUGUST 2021

Taming imposter syndrome – Ashley Vaotuua

Many of us have moments where we feel like an imposter, despite what our experience or achievements would suggest.

But as 2018 Spark scholar Ashley Vaotuua recently wrote in student magazine Craccum, these feelings are often stronger for those with less representation in their chosen field – particularly minority groups and women.

First Foundation scholar Jazz Parsons with scholarship partner  Sally Homer and mentor Aroshni Aluwihare

Our scholars might feel like an outsider in the academic or professional world – especially if they’re the first in their family to attend university, or haven’t grown up with role models who work in professional settings. 

Our mentors don’t need to get rid of these feelings entirely. An encouraging reminder that our scholars are capable and deserving of the opportunities they have can go a long way. Our mentors and scholars can draw inspiration from Ashley’s words below:

“While you may never fully eliminate your imposter, dealing with it means convincing yourself that you are worthy of success.”

“And if you’re a Māori or Pacific woman reading this — you descend from a long line of revolutionary, strong, brave women who broke barriers for you to be present in this very moment. Your imposter could never compete with the power you hold in your gafa/whakapapa.”