Rana Campbell ’13 brings up a particularly good point (posted Oct. 3 at PAW Online): the reluctance to admit that one “might not be bright enough,” and the truth that this is a feeling all overachievers from the hinterlands feel — regardless of color — when they get to an Ivy school. You realize upon meeting your new Ivy classmates that you’re no longer necessarily the brightest one in the room. And to be of color (black or brown) means you probably don’t have that easy, prep-school cohort to commiserate with and “put it into perspective.”
I have found that, in business, the strongest person in a negotiation is the one who’s willing to walk out of the room. The relevance here is that adopting that position takes beaucoup self-awareness. Once one can achieve that, then doubts leave the room. I would advise students, regardless of color, to develop the ability to “self-talk” and, paraphrasing Polonius, be truthful to yourself. If there’s one person to whom you should never lie about how you feel, it’s yourself.