Persona non Grata: Actually, You do Belong

Imposter syndrome has come to occupy an insidious space in academia, casting a shadow that conceals a genuine sense of belonging among students. It functions as a silent oppressor and gives rise to internal dialogues of self-doubt and criticism, often kept unspoken due to the fear that these doubts might be externalized, branding one as a sham. Standing among the vibrant tapestry of Cornell’s campus, I find myself amidst 15,000 students, each with unique backgrounds, experiences and stories to tell. Nonetheless, what connects our discrepancies is the common thread of our reputable and rightfully deserved education. 

So why the cognitive dissonance? It’s all too easy to dismiss my previous statement as deceit, to project it onto those who surround you, all while maintaining an incredulous stance that you — yes, you — warrant the recognition as someone who belongs.

TAARIQ | Celebrating Black History Month at Cornell

Black History Month, which was officially recognized in the 1970s, is not only a celebration of people and events throughout Black history, but it is also a reminder of the freedom now held by those in the Pan-African diaspora. An accomplishment I feel may be taken for granted. In our modern institutional settings, where Black contributions are oftentimes overlooked, the month of February provides us with an important reminder of where we have come from, and what we can achieve. But what does the view of Black excellence look like from an ivory tower? Cornell University does have a historic commitment to diversity, which is in tune with its mission, “any person … any study,” created during the founding of the University.