Finding “your” people: The impact of mentoring relationships in overcoming barriers to academic achievement in underrepresented student populations

DaLuz / Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning / June 2022

Mentor Mentee

First generation college students, especially those with intersecting identities within other marginalized groups, face many barriers in navigating academia. Among these barriers is the long-established set of negative beliefs about the self, known as Imposter Syndrome. Imposter feelings are often invisible to others, but manifest as anxiety, self-doubt, self-handicapping, or irrational fear of failure in light of previous successes (Craddock et al., 2011). Through an autoethnographic study, this paper explores how mentoring relationships facilitate persistence and academic achievement for underrepresented students. The author analyzes the manifestation of imposter feelings in their academic activities and how they were able to overcome these with the assistance of mentoring relationships. This study contributes to the existing literature on the impact of mentoring in overcoming imposter syndrome by providing a unique perspective through the lived experience of both mentor and mentee.