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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Furman chapter.

Imposter syndrome is defined as “a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.” It’s common to hear this term thrown around, especially in competitive academic settings like the one we have here at Furman. Everyone wants to do well, whatever that looks like for them, and when you are surrounded by high-achieving, highly motivated students, it’s easy to look at them and then yourself and question whether you are in the right place.

I started college here at Furman in 2020 in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I knew I wanted to study something in the sciences as they had been my favorite subjects since elementary school. I also knew I wanted to go to medical school after finishing undergrad, which requires a variety of difficult classes across the sciences. The work felt overwhelming at times and the pressure to always do well was constant. I found myself regularly comparing myself to my classmates. Was I doing as well as they were? Did I understand the materials as they did? If I felt that the answers to these questions were “no,” I would mentally beat myself up.

I was regularly telling myself I wasn’t good enough, or smart enough, or strong enough to see it through. I questioned whether I actually deserved to be where I was. When I got a good grade on a quiz or exam, I would tell myself it was just luck and that I shouldn’t get excited or feel proud because there were so many people who knew so much more than I did. Every time I would tell myself, “just wait until next semester, those classes will be so much harder and there’s no way you’ll make grades like this. Enjoy it while you can.” My freshman year, I almost gave up on my dream of going to medical school.

I’m so glad now that I didn’t.

Yes, the classes got harder, and the workload increased, but I was able to learn and grow through each experience and keep up.

These are still feelings that I struggle with today as a second semester junior. However, when I find myself doubting my abilities and comparing myself to everyone around me, I keep in mind a few key points: there will be students who are smarter than you and there will be students who score higher than you, but this doesn’t define your worth. It doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to be where you are. You don’t have to make the highest grade or graduate at the top of your class. It can be so helpful in the midst of your stress and anxiety to remind yourself of these things, even if you don’t believe it the first or second (or third) time. You are where you are supposed to be.

Struggles like these are real, but you are not alone. No matter how isolated you may feel if you are going through something like this, there are on-campus resources for you to utilize:

On-Campus Resources: Counseling Center: 864-294-3031

Mental Health and Crisis Support: 864 294-3031, option 3

Office of Spiritual Life: 864.294.2133

Student Office for Accessibility Resources

Center for Academic Success

Peer Assisted Learning

Writing and Media Lab



Leah Manning

Furman '24

Leah is a junior biology major with a women's, gender, and sexuality studies minor. She enjoys the outdoors, and loves to spend her free time hiking. She also loves the Lumineers and listens to their music any chance she gets. She hopes to eventually attend medical school and become an ObGyn. She is passionate about politics; particularly how they impact healthcare and disability services.