5 Ways to Deal With Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and feels like a fraud. College students often feel this way since the stress of balancing schoolwork, extracurriculars, a job, and a social life can be overwhelming. We may begin to wonder how we’ve been able to make it this far with all of this stress on our shoulders. This can lead to a lot of students feeling like they haven’t successfully balanced their lives, but rather that they have faked their success or gotten lucky. People who suffer from this phenomenon often feel that they are undeserving of their success.

While not considered a psychological disorder, imposter syndrome can lead to anxiety and depression. This is why it is important to be able to control these feelings before they begin to take control of you.

Here are five ways that you can manage imposter syndrome:

1. Remind yourself of the hard work that you’ve done

Remember all of those all-nighters that you had to pull during finals week? Or the grueling hours working while all you wanted to do was go home and take a nap? Think back to what you did prior to accomplishing something. Did you study for hours to get an A on an exam? Or did you not study at all and pull off an A? If you work hard and are dedicated, give yourself some credit. Hard work is essential for success.

  2. Share your experiences and feelings with others

Through mentoring, tutoring, or leading others in some way, you have the opportunity to share your own experiences with others who may be experiencing the same thing. It's also important to share your feelings when you doubt yourself because the people who love you will be there to listen and support you. When experiencing self-doubt, it's best to not go through it alone. Acknowledge the feelings, talk about them, and work to overcome them.

3. Think about the times that you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to

There have been times when you’ve felt like a failure or when you didn’t get the results that you wanted. Remember these times and remind yourself that if your success was pure luck or chance, you wouldn’t have experienced these failures. If you received a C on a test, attribute that to not studying enough and vow to study harder next time. By reminding yourself that your results are in your own hands, you can better fight the feeling of self-doubt.

4. Do not compare yourself to others

No matter what, there will always be someone who is smarter, more hard-working, or more dedicated than you are. This does not take away from your successes, and it does not undermine what you have accomplished. Rather than compare what you have done to what others have done, focus on what you need to do to achieve your goal.

5. Understand that no one is absolutely sure of themselves

Imposter syndrome is much more common than most people may think. It's important to remind yourself that everyone doubts themselves every once in a while. Even your mentors and professors sometimes experience self-doubt. The best thing to do is remind yourself of all that you have worked hard to accomplish and not allow irrational feelings to make you doubt your own success.

Imposter syndrome is manageable so long as you remain in control of your thoughts and feelings. Know that if you work hard, you are deserving of every bit of success you have achieved. It's okay to fail every once in a while. See it as a learning opportunity rather than a declaration of your capabilities. By remembering the steps listed above, you can overcome imposter syndrome before it becomes overwhelming. Be kind to yourself and be proud of your accomplishments. You are doing better than you think. 

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