What It's Like to Have Imposter Syndrome—Feeling Like You’re Not Doing Enough

I usually think I have a pretty full schedule. I’m taking five classes (one of which has a discussion section...boo), I work a minimum of ten hours a week, and I spend maybe 6-7 hours weekly attending meetings/doing work for my clubs. I’m not exactly drowning in free time, and this is most evident on Fridays, when I leave my dorm at 8:30 a.m. for a class at 9:05 a.m. and have five consecutive classes, 2.5 hours of work, and a 1.5-hour meeting afterward, all of which allows me to finally seek out the comfort of my room at quarter to 7 p.m., roughly.

I know people who do everything I do and more. Or variations. Like my friend, who’s only taking four classes, but they’re all Master’s classes. And on top of that, she’s involved in extracurriculars and does research at a lab. Or my coworker, who has a full course load, runs various social media accounts, is an Admissions Ambassador, and works as a brand ambassador. No coffee in the world could make that work for me.

I can’t really generalize about Boston University students comparatively, because I know very little about the students at other schools. I can say that, however, BU students definitely have a reputation for being overachieving, hyper-involved, and eager to take on challenges.

During a discussion at work, someone brought up the idea that not everyone at BU runs on four hours of sleep because they have a hand in literally everything going on at campus, but we just tend to think that because we see those select few everywhere. It’s the availability heuristic— we think shark attacks are a huge threat to our life because they’re reported on often, but they’re way less common than, say, choking deaths.

And this is a perfectly logical explanation. Your RA, who happens to be on E-board for a club and volunteers at the hospital on the weekends and tables all the time in the GSU and is featured on BU social media accounts all the time, is just one person.

That doesn’t stop the Imposter Syndrome from setting in though. I feel as if I’m not doing enough when I speedwalk to my dorm right after my class ends at 4:45 p.m., especially when a significant number of the BU population are out and about, studying in Mugar or attending late night club meetings or even going to class.

I feel like such an underachiever when I crawl into bed before midnight— and I know the importance of self-care and healthy sleeping habits, but, like, other people are up well into the night grinding. Should I be doing that too? Probably not, but maybe a little.

At the end of the day, we just need to remember that the people we see everywhere are the exception to the rule. It’s perfectly fine to just be involved in one thing, or even none if you’re choosing to focus on your studies. And while you might envy their mile-long resume and all the cool experiences they have under their belt, they might think the same about you and all that you do.

You’re doing enough. Take care of yourself!


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