College Made My Impostor Syndrome Worse

College Made My Impostor Syndrome Worse And I'm Going To Fix That

To all the feelings of inadequacy that I've experienced before...


Have you ever done really well on a task and then thought to yourself, "I really hope no one finds out I just faked my way through that!" Do you constantly invalidate your own successes because you don't want to seem arrogant even though you actually worked really hard to get there? Or do you spend hours procrastinating on something you could've finished ages ago because you wanted it to be perfect and didn't want to start it until you could finish the whole thing in one sitting?

Spending 8 hours on Twitter > spending 8 hours studying.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a victim of impostor syndrome, a phenomenon where high achievers can't accept their successes. It's very common in competitive environments, such as in places of higher education. I've definitely experienced this, and I personally think the reason it's becoming more prevalent is because society values hard work more than mental health (which is a discussion for another day), which leads a lot of people to feel that nothing they do is enough. It makes sense that impostor syndrome is especially common for students in their first semester of college, because all of a sudden they're in a new setting, facing problems they're unfamiliar with but somehow getting through them, all while thinking they don't really belong.

Me coming back to my dorm after a hard day of class :(

My first few weeks of college were extremely stressful, due to the combination of adjusting to a new school, figuring out an entirely different way to study, having to be an actual adult for the first time, and forcing myself to go outside of my comfort zone. The whole time, I was meeting people who seemed to be so confident in themselves, people who were striving academically and socially, and people who had their lives planned out. It was hard to feel like my accomplishments compared to theirs. I honestly felt incompetent sometimes. But that was only one side to my story.

Studies have shown that minority students often find themselves experiencing impostor syndrome more than their peers because they feel that they have to "work twice as hard to be half as good." As an Asian American, I can't pretend to understand the circumstances that other minorities go through, nor can I disregard the fact that many Asians have unconscious prejudices against other ethnic groups, but that doesn't mean we don't experience discrimination. Asian Americans are seen as the "model minority" - a stereotype which discredits our efforts to "just being smart" and makes us seem like robots with no personalities. It's clear why I was struggling so much to accept that I had earned my spot in this school.

(The model minority myth was created to further white supremacy.)

So, after reading this, maybe you've realized you also experience impostor syndrome. Now what? Well, the first step to overcoming those feelings of inadequacy is to recognize that you aren't faking anything at all. You're not a fraud. The next step is to realize you actually are good enough. Start accepting that you've worked hard to get to where you are, and just because you or something you do isn't perfect, doesn't mean it's bad. Change that "I'm going to fail!" to "I'm proud of myself for studying," or at least try. If you reframe your mindset even a little, you might feel less like an impostor and more like yourself. And if you don't, it's never shameful to seek professional help- especially when the mental health crisis for students is at an all time high.

If you take anything away from this soapbox, just know you're not faking it. Impostor syndrome is very real and very common. Admittedly, college made my impostor syndrome worse, but as I kept validating my successes, it got better and better.

To conclude - you don't have to fake it until you make it when you're not faking anything!

You're not a fraud! Yay!

Popular Right Now

10 Bible Verses for Self Esteem

Sometimes you need to search for inner strength and find your own self worth.

We all get those days that we just don't feel good enough for anything. Everything is going wrong. For me, I go to the bible to read the words of God. His personal dialog for us is filled with encouragement, hope, and lessons we can learn from. Here are my top ten verses that are uplifting and impacting when at the lowest of lows:

1. Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

2. Psalm 46:5

God is within her, she will not fall.

3. Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

4. Psalm 28:76

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

5. 1 Corinthians 25:10

By the grace of God, I am what I am.

6. Romans 5:8

I loved you at your darkest.

7. Psalm 62:5-6

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

8. 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

9. 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10. 2 Chronicles 20:15

The battle is not ours, but God's.

Cover Image Credit: chinadaily

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

11 Things You NEVER Say To A College Girl Trying To Get Into Shape

Just never talk about a person's weight.


When my family and friends joked that I was going to gain 15 pounds in my freshman year of college as a result of the "Freshman 15," I thought it was what it was supposed to be: a joke. However, as the year has come to an end, I realized that I actually did put on a couple of pounds, albeit it wasn't the predicted 15.

As I told those that I wanted to get into an ideal shape for my body, I was met with some insensitive and ignorant remarks. Everyone thought that I mean just losing the weight I had put on.

1. "You walk to all of your classes, why aren't you losing weight that way?"

My legs are more toned than they ever have been before. However, most of the weight I have been gaining has gone directly to my gut (annoying!) and walking does not remedy that. Unfortunately, I have to stick to ab workouts.

2. "But you look fine to me!"

I don't feel healthy to myself. I'm not trying to stay in shape for anyone else, just myself, thanks. I appreciate you trying to make me feel better about my body image but I know something has to be done.

3. "I didn't gain any weight in college."

Good for you. I did. I'm trying to do something about it.

4. "Just stop drinking."

I don't drink. Really, the only liquid I consume is water or iced tea. I don't like soda and alcohol makes me nauseous way too easily.

5. "Isn't the gym free on campus for students?"

Yes, but some people don't like working out in front of others. I am one of those people. My friend lives in an apartment complex that has their own gym and almost no one is ever there but not everyone has that luxury. Also, some are busy and do not have time for a quick jog or to stretch.

6. "You should try this diet/pills/exercise routine."

I am thankful that you are trying to help but my diet is just eating healthy and having a few cheat days in between. I know what exercises work best for me and I am just not taking pills. Bodies adjust differently.

7. "Don't starve/force yourself to throw up."

Trust me, I know. I'm trying to lose the weight healthily. If you do find yourself practicing unhealthy eating habits or realizing your body image is deteriorating, the NEDA Hotline is (800) 931-2237. Please reach out if you are going through hardships.

8. "Won't you have to buy a whole new wardrobe?"

If I drop (or even add) a size or two. We grow out and grow tired of clothes on the regular, what's the difference if you have to buy some because of a weight change? Plus, who doesn't love buying new clothes?

9. "Just eat healthier."

Didn't think of it! Options are limited at college where the dining halls don't offer all that much that is actually good for your body. Now that I'm at home, it's easier. But I'm already trying to eat healthy.

10. "You've evened out since the last time I saw you!"

This is code for you've put on some weight. I hear it mostly from older relatives because my friends will flat out tell me if I've gotten a little chunky.

11. "You're just stressed."

Personally, this one gets me livid. I do admit that when I am stressed or anxious, I do turn to food for comfort but when I am delighted and genuinely happy, will my body magically revert into a fit state?

Sadly, no.

Honestly, I am just trying to get my body back into shape. For me, that means cutting back on greasy foods and kicking a bad habit of sitting on my butt all day. For others, it could mean more or less. As long as your body is in good physical condition and you are content, the number on the scale and others' thoughts shouldn't matter. Take care of yourself.

Related Content

Facebook Comments