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Being a Female Writer With Imposter Syndrome 

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

Why do I feel like I don’t deserve my accomplishments?  

Last semester, I made the dean’s list, meaning I was in the top 16% of GPAs in my college. It took me two weeks to tell anyone about it because it just didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. It was what was expected of me, and do I really deserve praise for that? 

I don’t think that I have ever truly felt good enough. Ever since I was little, I was an anxiety-riddled-overachieving-perfectionist. It doesn’t matter what I have accomplished, if I’ve gotten straight As, or have had my writing published. There’s always some voice saying that I could’ve done better. When I get praise for my accomplishments, I feel like I don’t deserve them.  

I am a female writer with imposter syndrome. 

Imposter syndrome is a behavioral phenomenon that consists of self-doubt of intelligence, skills, and/or accomplishments in high-achieving people. The National Institute of Health describes it as when individuals cannot internalize their success and experience pervasive feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, depression, and/or apprehension of being exposed as a fraud in their work, despite evidence of their success. 

I currently write for three separate media organizations on my college campus. I’m also an RA, work an on-campus job, and still manage to maintain an A average. Somehow this isn’t good enough for me. I don’t deserve the praise I get for all of this. I’m not exactly sure why I feel this way, though.  

I know that I am allowed to feel proud of myself and to celebrate my accomplishments, but there’s part of me that can’t. I don’t want anyone to think I’m bragging, or that what I’m celebrating isn’t actually a big deal. Anytime I try to promote my articles or tell people what exciting things I have going on in my life, I’m scared. I mean, there’s plenty of other people doing what I’m doing and more.  

Even when people do express pride in me, it’s hard to believe they’re being genuine. To this day I feel like people compliment me because they feel bad for me. Or even if they are sincere, I’ve somehow tricked them into thinking I was this brilliant person.  

It creates such a mental block when I am trying to put out writing pieces. Everything I write has to be perfect and something that I’m 100% proud of. This makes it impossible for me to even start writing. If it’s not immediately my magnum opus, then what’s the point? Even this article that you’re reading right now was met with so much procrastination of just staring at my computer screen.  

Women are actually more likely to downplay their achievements than men, and 53% of women experience imposter syndrome. There is a stigma that if women celebrate their work, we’ll seem full of ourselves and arrogant. 

Imposter syndrome isn’t something that I think I’ll ever shake. The best way to combat it, though, is by talking about it

I often use my article topics to help make sense of the emotions or experiences that I face. The problems that come with these never truly go away for me, but putting them out into the world makes it seem so much smaller. Telling myself that I’m allowed to be proud of the work that I have done doesn’t really do anything. Maybe having other people read about my experience will help me though. It might make some people feel less alone in their experience with imposter syndrome.  

If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, I urge you to talk about it. Whether that be with a mental health professional or a friend, or what I’m doing and using your chosen career path to express it, getting it off your chest makes a difference.  

Gianna is a staff writer for Her Campus at Temple University, and a sophomore at Temple University. She usually writes under the Health section, and often covers her personal struggles with mental health and body dysmorphia. Gianna has loved writing ever since she was little. In high school, she had an internship with her local newspaper, also writing for the health section. In college she writes The Temple News and the Templar Yearbook. Her home is in Southern Delaware with her three dogs (who she misses dearly) Keno, Caesar, and Nero. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ggvogess