Fending Off Imposter Syndrome: My Pitt Honors Experience

Hello everyone! My name is Catalina Feistritzer, and I am a junior majoring in both Neuroscience and English Literature with accompanying minors in Linguistics and Chemistry. I am originally from York, PA, but I spend practically all my time here in Pittsburgh. The Honors College has extensively shaped me as a student, and I have so many positive memories associated with Pitt Honors. Upon my acceptance to Pitt, I opted to live in the Honors LLC, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I found my best friends there and have been closely connected with them since the first week of freshman year.

You see, Pitt Honors cultivates this fantastic environment that embodies scholarship, mentorship, academic curiosity, culture, and friendship, while also instilling optimism in its members that we will generate positive change in any field we pursue. It is a unique community to belong to that brings me confidence in my endeavors. My closest friends are future doctors, pharmacists, researchers, lawmakers, and engineers that I have the utmost faith in; even in the face of intense imposter syndrome, I can look to these friends for encouragement and support that I belong up there with them. Engaging with Pitt Honors has only furthered this feeling, and I particularly admire the cross-cultural world-centric views it exposes its members to. I have found that it is all too easy to become wrapped up in your own world, but Pitt Honors programs like the Bachelor of Philosophy and the Creative Arts Fellowships encourage students to reflect on how their interests can contribute to the communities they reside in.

Aside from living in the Honors LLC, I regularly take Honors classes and am a mentor to younger Honors College members. The classes I take do an exceptional job of shaping my interests and actively teaching me different biases to see the world from. I have grown an incredible amount as a student over the past few years and I attribute it heavily to the Honors College. For example, I took a literature class inside the walls of a maximum-security prison, and half of my classmates were prisoners serving decades-long sentences. This experience heavily influenced me, and as a premedical student, I have taken a strong interest in medicine for members of largely marginalized and forgotten populations (i.e. prison populations). This class, paired with other Honors classes like Neuroanatomy and Human Physiology, have prepared me to combine activism with my professional interests. It is truly amazing the types of bridges that Pitt Honors builds for its members.

I cannot speak more highly of Pitt’s Honors College. I entered college with a million and one different career interests and their mentors, advisors, and alumni have all worked with me tirelessly to effectively combine my interests, rather than force me to choose only one or two. I am grateful for that and am genuinely thrilled to cultivate this environment for younger members as an Honors Ambassador and mentor.

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