• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

How To Deal With Imposter Syndrome

ByNiamh Stone

Feb 27, 2023
a woman walking outside with signs around her saying 'imposter syndrome'

Whether you are in your first or fourth year at university, you have most likely experienced a moment of feeling like an imposter. This means you feel as if you are a fraud and you are not meant to be where you are because everyone else is better than you, and eventually, everyone is going to find you out and realise it too. Imposter Syndrome is doubting yourself and your abilities. You feel as if you have not earnt the things you have achieved. This is a horrible feeling that hits you unexpectedly and can come in waves, and I am certain we are all too familiar with this feeling at university. That person in your tutorial seems to always have something to say and uses big words that you have not heard of before. You feel confused and lost in your lecture, you do not understand all of your readings. Imposter Syndrome creeps in and begins breathing down your neck.

I am here to reassure you that you are not alone, and most other people feel this way at some point. Most people will not admit it, but they are struggling with this too. You have not got to where you are today because of luck but because of your hard work, and you deserve to be where you are! Before university, this was not a feeling I had experienced. But in my first year, and often still in my second, I feel as if I do not belong with all these super intelligent people at my university who seem to know a whole lot more than me.

How did I deal with this Imposter Syndrome? How am I still dealing with it? Firstly, I try to separate my feelings about my abilities from the facts. My feelings tell me I am no good, yet the facts, such as my grades and what my tutors tell me, indicate that I am doing okay and progressing at a satisfactory rate. It is important to acknowledge my feelings, try to understand why I feel that way and then try to let go and focus on the evidence I have which is contrary to my feelings of inadequacy, such as the fact that I have got into my dream university.

Next, I attempt to develop a healthier way to deal with making mistakes and criticism. When writing an essay, you are never going to do it perfectly, and that is good because there would be no point in attending university if you already knew how to do everything. When you get feedback on your work, try not to take things personally. Constructive criticism from your tutor is there to help you, not beat you down. It is not a reflection of you as a person or your value. I have definitely felt deflated looking at my grade and feedback from an essay, but this means you have the tools to do better next time. You learn each time. I try to adapt this growth mindset to have a more positive outlook on making mistakes.

Finally, I share how I am feeling with my friends. Other people will be feeling this too, and if you open up a safe space to discuss this, then others will most likely come forward and admit that they can really relate. You can encourage each other and schedule regular check-ins to catch up on how you are each feeling. We are all unique, yet we experience a lot of the same things, so do not be afraid to be vulnerable and open with those you trust and care about.

I hope you feel reassured and empowered to go and fight back against that Imposter Syndrome. Do not allow it to make you think you are not enough. You are always enough, and you are where you are meant to be.

Image Credit: Imposter Syndrome – For a Man, or a Woman” by thewikiman is licensed under CC BY 2.0.