This PAWS event focused on necessary measures to protect our mental health as we work through academia. Dr. Dickerson spoke of the origins of perfectionism and how it hinders us as we pursue our goals, whether they be to finish a paper, write that dissertation, or get that dream job. We learned about how procrastination is partially driven by our need to be perfect in this high-pressure world, and how to fight back against perfectionism. We can break these patterns by checking in with ourselves and making note of where our biggest insecurities lie. By confronting our fears, we can have breakthroughs.

We also spoke about the relationship between perfectionism and imposter syndrome, the sinking belief that we aren’t as good as need to be, that we don’t belong, and that soon we’ll be exposed as inexperienced, ineffective, or incompetent. We can unknowingly reinforce these beliefs through our unconscious and conscious efforts. But much of this feeling comes from our thoughts, which are not facts. When overwhelmed, pausing to remember the times when we succeeded instead of failed will work wonders for our self-esteem and leave us ready to face what is in front of us with the belief that we will be okay.

This PAWS event was not recorded due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed and shared amongst our group. However, there are resources you can read to learn more about mental health in academia, burnout, and how to support yourself and those around you.


Overcoming Perfectionism by Desiree Dickerson:

What is Imposter Syndrome? By Desiree Dickerson:

Taking Mental Health Seriously in Grad School:

Mental Health Strategies through the Covid-19 Pandemic:

How to Recognize Burnout:

Burnout vs. Depression:

Your Burnout is Unique, and Your Recovery will be too:

What is Depression?

What is Anxiety?

How to Help a Friend with Anxiety:

How to Help Someone with Anxiety:

Psych2Go’s YouTube channel: