Satire: New epidemic sweeps campus: imposter syndrome
Novel strain proves most dangerous strain yet
The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.
An emerging epidemic is sweeping American University, according to recent reports from the Student Health Center. More contagious than previous strains, the novel imposter syndrome poses a significant health risk to students.
Early research suggests that imposter syndrome is caused by feelings of academic and professional inadequacy. The syndrome typically presents as hesitation to raise one’s hand in class or as mild manifestations of embarrassment or shame. The novel strain, however, presents differently. At AU, students are displaying signs of illness well after the initial contraction, with symptoms often persisting into the fifth or sixth Hillternship. Additionally, AU students are more susceptible to the novel illness, with a 98 percent contamination rate among the population.
Health officials at the University announced yesterday the decision to quarantine students suffering from particularly acute cases of the disease.
One student told her story with the hope that it will deter other students from falling into similar patterns: “I fainted during the Critical Language Scholarship information session,” said junior Londyn Gates. “I want other students to know that academic accomplishments aren’t everything. For example, now that I’m quarantined, I’m going to miss the deadline for the application. It’s totally fine, but I don’t ... ”
The Seagle’s transcript cuts off there; Gates fainted before the interview could be finished.
“I fear the quarantine will inhibit my professional success,” said junior Emile Katz. “I already have six internships, a full time job and a leadership position in every club I’m in — which is 34 in total. But if I could just get that seventh internship, I might have a chance at grad school.”
Other students took extreme measures to combat the illness. Rory James, a sophomore, was arrested after breaking into Bender Library at 4 am. When asked about the incident, James said, “I needed the extra four hours of studying before the official opening.”
Leigh Gomez, a first-year, followed suit the next day. Gomez says, “The way I see it, if other students are doing it, I better be doing it too.” The two will be tried in January.
When asked if she would do the same, James admitted abashedly that she had not thought of it and abruptly ran out of the building. Student Safety has asked for sightings of James to be reported to them as soon as possible.
After hearing that The Seagle was conducting interviews about the epidemic, senior Sally Syed called the office and requested an interview.
When asked if she suffered from the illness, Syed said, “What? I can say that if you want me to. Please, I need this on my resume.” It is unclear how the addition of an interview would improve Syed’s resume, but she insisted. “I’ve only authored three publications. The page is practically blank. Please, anything helps.”
The Student Health Center redirected all questions about the illness to the RBIF: The Resume-Burnishing Internship Fund. The new organization allows students to include false internships on their resumes, enlisting a small group of highly-trained individuals to serve as on-demand “references.”
Nora Sullivan is a junior in the School of International Service and a satire columnist at The Eagle.