Dear New Graduate Student,

Welcome to The Ohio State! As you begin your graduate journey, it’s important to remember that you belong here at Ohio State and we are invested in your success.

There will be many times during your graduate journey that you will feel like you don’t belong in graduate school. This feeling makes you believe you aren’t smart or good enough for graduate school.

This feeling is called imposter syndrome and is extremely common among graduate students than you might think!

UCAT consultants have worked with several graduate students over the years and we can confidently say that feeling like an imposter is incredibly prevalent in graduate school. Therefore, you are not alone! In fact, even your professors may experience feelings of imposter syndrome.

We have found that imposter syndrome makes graduate students feel isolated and anxious, and, most importantly, negatively affects their performance and progress in terms of their course work, research and teaching.

So, what can you do to combat imposter syndrome? Several scholars have argued that one key strategy to fight feeling like an imposter is purposeful engagement in activities and programs that supports the building of a strong and unified professional identity as a teacher-scholar.

While graduate students hold various identities, most often they professionally identify as a: student, researcher, and teacher.

To fight imposter syndrome, we encourage you to strategically invest in programs and activities that focus on finding and building synergistic connections between your multiple professional identities towards a developing a teacher-scholar identity.

When you intentionally put in effort and time into developing a teacher-scholar identity, you are more likely to understand and internalize the norms, philosophies, ways of knowing and attitudes of your discipline and future professional career.

Developing a well-integrated professional identity takes a lot of time and self-reflection, and is best accomplished in community with your peers and senior graduate students who know what it’s like to be in your shoes.

You will begin learning about tools to developing a teacher-scholar identity at the New GTA Teaching Orientation.

Throughout the academic year, UCAT offers several events to help you develop as teacher-scholar and better prepare you to achieve your professional goals.

We highly recommend you participate in our monthly workshop series, Graduate Toolkit, designed specifically to help graduate students to navigate graduate school as teacher-scholars. You will have opportunities to listen and share your own experiences with your peers who are currently teaching at Ohio State! Our first workshop, the August Open House, is happening on August 28, 2018 at 9:00am – 10:30am.

At UCAT, supporting the professional development of graduate students is one of our top priorities. Thus, we hope to empower you to stop feeling like an imposter, and instead help you develop into a strong teacher-scholar who feels capable of advancing both research and teaching at Ohio State.

Please contact us to schedule a consultation and talk about how we can best support your teaching endeavors and professional development as an educator.


Jennifer Collins, PhD served as a post-doctoral researcher for UCAT and currently works for the Chemistry Department at OSU as a Research Scientist.

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