Week 4: Handling Gravity – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 4: Handling Gravity

This week was an especially busy one at my site. This entire month, we’ve been working on this huge grant proposal to fund a human trafficking victims program and it was finally due yesterday. When I had first read through all of the grant requirements, I was a little freaked out because I would be majorly responsible for whether or not my site received hundreds of thousands of dollars to help victims who so greatly need support. It took a lot of reflection and self-care to get to a place in which I was ready to undertake this large task. A lot of the time, that fear of failure can really get in your way and prevent you from getting in the ring and giving it your all. I titled this entry “Handling Gravity” because that’s a huge lesson that I’ve learned this week. I have done a lot of work to understand the gravity of the work I’m doing, but not letting it freak me out so much. There comes a certain point where you have to accept that you gave it your all and that it’s now out of your hands.

I know that all of us as University of Michigan students have experienced imposter syndrome, feeling like you’re not meant to be there or up to the task. A lot of that comes with unpacking the very culture that got us here – a culture that’s ultra-competitive and made to diminish people at every turn. I spent a lot of time this week reminding myself that there’s a reason I was chosen for this program and that I am equipped to do this important work with an open heart and gracious spirit. I definitely have a lot more growth to do in this area, but this week I didn’t let it keep me out of the ring and that’s a victory in itself.

2 thoughts on “Week 4: Handling Gravity”

  1. Hey Maya, I really appreciated your take on what you call “Handling Gravity.” I’ve been really struggling with some academic-related imposter syndrome recently and I think this is the perspective I should have as far as it’s concerned. Thank you for that!
    You must be so proud of yourself to get to the end of this grant proposal timeline having done your best work. I hope to hear more about how you overcame this experience and are now stronger for doing the best you could throughout!

  2. Hi Maya!
    Thank you for telling this story! I think you really hit the nail on the head on how ultra-competitive environments do not create the conditions for building a strong sense of self-efficacy. For my campus job, I was recently asked to write a grant–a task for which I felt completely underqualified. Know that you are not alone in your feelings. I try to remind myself that we are always going to be underqualified for something that we haven’t done before, but if we let that stop us, we would never learn to do anything new. You walked away with new skills and practice taking on hard things! That is something to celebrate!

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