Behind Cheyenne's Mind
“I thought it was something I was dealing with on my own.”
Dr. Cheyenne Matinnia is a Clinical Pharmacist in Toronto who completed her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Toronto Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and her Pharmacy Residency at The Hospital for Sick Children. She currently works as a Clinical Pharmacist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Outside of work, Cheyenne loves to give back to the pharmacy community by providing education, mentorship, and support to pharmacists and students alike. She is currently Co-Chair of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) Ontario Branch Education Committee. Her Instagram account @askapharmacyresident provides helpful clinical information, adorable drawings, and motivational posts from the perspective of a Clinical Pharmacist and Pharmacy Resident. Those who know Cheyenne would agree that she is an incredibly motivated and successful person, but this journey has not always been smooth sailing for her.
Cheyenne has experienced feelings of impostor syndrome. Also known as impostor phenomenon, this occurrence describes individuals who struggle with accepting their own achievements and competencies, often attributing their successes to luck. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt, fear of failure, and fear of being exposed as an “impostor” or a “fraud”.
During her BSc Immunology and PharmD degrees at the University of Toronto, Cheyenne served as a residence don for five years. She acted as a live-in support for students and considers it a life-changing experience. At work, she was exposed to many topics, one such topic was impostor syndrome, which came up during a training session. The phrase already sounded familiar to Cheyenne, and once she heard the definition she had an “aha!” moment. This is what she had been experiencing for years but could never describe properly in words. Hearing the name of this experience and realizing that she was not alone was incredibly validating for Cheyenne.
Cheyenne, like many people, still sometimes experiences self-doubt. Now, she has helpful strategies that she uses to help her regain confidence.
When she has feelings of imposter syndrome, Cheyenne has learned to “call herself out on it” and identify those emotions she is experiencing. Rather than letting these feelings overwhelm her, Cheyenne opens up her “impostor syndrome tool box” and pulls out strategies like taking a deep breath, giving herself a pep talk, and reminding herself of her qualifications. She has also learned to trust her process, prepare herself to answer difficult questions, and sometimes, fake it ‘til she makes it! Cheyenne also has a great support network and knows that she can reach out to confide it someone when she needs it. Cheyenne is passionate about bringing open discussions around impostor syndrome and mental health to the pharmacy community. She invites students and followers who feel comfortable to speak with her about impostor syndrome and finds this activity helpful for everyone involved in the conversation. Since many people with impostor syndrome feel that they are alone in what they are feeling, it can be incredibly helpful to realize that you are not alone.
She hopes to continue her mental health advocacy efforts and believes that these open discussions should be more common in professional and academic settings, as impostor syndrome is well-recognized within those fields. She continues to share her advise, experiences, and support with her peers and colleagues. Cheyenne is still working on refining her advocacy efforts and educational resources, but she is not worried, because as she says: “It’s okay to not have everything figured out.”
Written by Celine Huab, posted with permission from Cheyenne Matinnia