College can give you a sense that you don’t deserve to be here. Somedays you find yourself questioning the merits of your intelligence rather than challenging your intelligence. There are people who are more skilled than you are, whose intelligent capabilities exceed your own, and these comparisons make you feel undeserving of your triumphs. Occasional comments I would receive including, "You look too young to be in college," only confirmed that to me. Despite having every reason to be in college, I found myself feeling juvenile, and often fell into a pattern evaluating myself lowly when it came to my performance. To my surprise, I wasn't the only person who felt the affects of "imposter syndrome".
The Imposter Syndrome refers to having a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. Individuals often find it difficult to recognize their accomplishments, degrading those achievements as ‘mere chance’ or that 'it was nothing'. This often is followed by a feeling that those around them will eventually "unmask" them, exposing them as the fraud they believe themselves to be.
This phenomenon isn’t uncommon, however. According to a study conducted by the International Journal of Behavioral Studies, approximately 70% of people will experience at least one episode relating to imposter fear. This ‘’intellectual self-doubt" is found to be more prominent in millennials, as they grow up and discover their expectations to be unrealistic.
This perfectionist attitude is detrimental to your own well-being. You start to feel like you don't belong, and it can take a toll on yourself. When it does, consider the following:
Acknowledge your Emotions
Acceptance is always the first step towards recovering. Take a second to recognize that what you are feeling is impostor fear. Take note of their occurrences.
Be Understanding Towards Yourself
Allow yourself for mistakes. Realize that it isn’t possible for you to answer every problem or know everything. While you can certainly strive for perfection, acknowledge the possibility that that wont be the outcome, and it’s okay that it isn’t.
Quit Making Comparisons
Don't undermine yourself because "you don't match up to someone else's successes." Your experiences are personal to you, just as another is personal to them. Remember that you are just as important, not some 'fraud'.
Appreciate Your Outcomes
Whether you fail miserably or you find success, appreciate the fact that you put your work, time and effort into a project, and that alone is all that counts.
Talk to Someone, Anyone!
There are plenty of resources inside and outside of your school you can speak to and there are plenty of others that are sharing the same thoughts that you are. Utilize those resources instead of keeping your thoughts to yourself.