Combating Imposter Syndrome
At some point in their college career (or afterward), most people experience some form of imposter syndrome, or the feeling that they’re a fraud/don’t deserve their successes. As a woman, in a major comprised primarily of men, this feeling is all too familiar to me. It’s hard sometimes to not doubt yourself and your skills, but over the years I’ve found there are ways to make imposter syndrome feel a little less overwhelming.
Commonly, people who experience imposter syndrome feel that they are not as intelligent or skilled as their peers. In college, many students feel as though they “aren’t as smart” as other students in their courses, and sometimes question if they even belong at the university in the first place. For me, I definitely felt like this when I first got to campus. What helped me fight the insecurity was being logical: everyone went through the same application process I did. Although maybe people are smarter than I am, we all ended up at the same school for a reason. Everyone who goes to school here deserves to be here.
My best advice to avoid imposter syndrome, though, is to not let yourself be defined by academics or work. I find fulfillment in activities that have nothing to do with my major, and having a wide set of skills/interests has allowed me to not worry so much about how I compare to others in one area of my life. Focusing on personal fulfillment and growth, instead of letting a school or work environment define your worth, has been very helpful.
Don’t worry too much about avoiding imposter syndrome, because it’s an extremely common experience in work/academic environments. The key is to be able to identify these feelings as illogical, and not allow them to hold you back from your full potential. You are always smarter and more capable than you think.