Cat Hendrick first spoke about imposter at the TEDxUGA Student Showcase last fall. (Photo: New Media Institute)
Cat Hendrick chosen for 2019 TEDxUGA: Amplify
Tickets to TEDxUGA 2019: Amplify, can be purchased at the Classic Center Box Office between now and showtime on March 22. Tickets are $20.
For junior journalism major, Cat Hendrick, choosing a condition called “imposter syndrome” as a topic for the TEDxUGA 2019: Amplify event made sense.
This subject is not random for Hendrick. Two years ago, she suffered from imposter syndrome after receiving an opportunity to report at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
As part of the New Media Institute’s TEDx class, students are required to nominate peers for TEDxUGA. Upon nomination, Hendrick deliberated talking about her many passions in life, such as sports and mental health, before settling on imposter syndrome.
“The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the idea that scared me the most that was what I needed to do,” Hendrick said.
As a 19-year-old freshman whose only experience was journalism homework, Hendrick received an email congratulating her for being a semifinalist. This exciting news eventually led to feelings of uncertainty as Hendrick discovered the other candidates were mostly juniors and seniors with experience such as writing for the Red & Black. After months of interviews, she was selected for the job.
“It suddenly occurred to me that after I got the job, I would have to do the job,” Hendrick said. “I was sure they had made a mistake in choosing me.”
Over the following months, gratitude for the opportunity shifted to feelings of crippling concern for not being qualified for the job. Hendrick stopped leaving her house, sleeping and would completely avoid talking about the Olympics.
“I convinced myself I would be a disappointment to everyone,” Hendrick said.
After missing a deadline for a short article that felt impossible to write (she describes it as the SpongeBob episode where he spends all night writing one letter), Hendrick sought out help from therapists. She was told she could be suffering from anxiety or depression, but something about her paranoia felt different.
Finally, Vicki Michaelis, director of Grady Sports, responded to one of Hendrick’s journal entries within the capstone class. Michaelis recommended researching imposter syndrome as a possibility for what Hendrick was feeling.
Hendrick hopes using her experience combating imposter syndrome for a TEDxUGA presentation will impact her audience and spread awareness of the phenomenon.
TEDxUGA 2019: Amplify will give her more time on the subject than the Student Showcase where she first presented, and she says she will work on delivery and relatable content for a broader audience.
“I [think back] to the moment of relief I had when I realized what it was and how grateful I was for the person who introduced me to imposter syndrome,” Hendrick said. “I figured if I could be that for somebody else, it will be worth the fear of being that vulnerable in front of the whole world.”
TEDxUGA 2019: Amplify will be March 22 at the Classic Center. Tickets are available at tedxuga.com.