Anyone can feel like they’re an impostor, no matter how popular or accomplished they are, educational psychology professor Kevin Cokely said last week at a Cockrell School Cares event.
Cokely said students can experience “impostor syndrome,” a psychological disposition where an individual doubts their accomplishments and internalizes a fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”
Cockrell School Cares is a two-week long event dedicated to promoting mental health, inclusion and diversity within the Cockrell School of Engineering. It addresses issues such as masculinity, LGBTQ issues, gender in the workplace and dealing with stress, according to the Texas Student Engineering Council’s website.
“We do everything like leading yoga sessions to practicing mental health and making face masks, but also hosting talks and lectures on embracing failure, overcoming racial barriers and (being a) woman in STEM,” said Scott Brinen, a Student Engineering Council member-at-large.
The event is a testament to Cockrell’s “you belong here” mentality, said Sharon Wood, the Dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering.
“I think Cockrell School Cares helps engineering students realize that we are all facing the same issues together,” said chemical engineering sophomore Michael Guo, who helped plan the event. “I believe that many people, especially freshmen, may be overwhelmed by the college experience. It’s important for them to realize that it’s OK to struggle and it’s OK to fail. Cockrell School Cares gives people a platform and place to speak out on issues they might otherwise feel uncomfortable about.”
Cockrell School Cares has a significant impact because many students have experienced the issues discussed in some shape or form, whether it be in classes, group projects, internships or school organizations, Brinen said.
“My favorite event was the discussion about discrimination in the workplace,” chemical engineering junior Jessie Suns said. “There were several great speakers who shared their experiences as minorities in the workforce, and I felt like I could relate to them back from when I was interning.”
However, participants are not limited to only attending the events. Brinen said the Student Engineering Council also encourages engineering students to reach out and take a role in helping them with their initiative.
“I wanted to play a part in helping with (Cockrell School Cares) because I had a positive experience last year taking part in the events,” Guo said. “I wanted to be able to provide the same experience for others.”