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Wellness

4 Reminders For Battling Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome means feeling under-qualified and inexperienced even if you’re more than capable of completing whatever job needs to be done. I’ve been a victim of imposter syndrome for as long as I can remember, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why.

I’m a good student; I pay attention, get good grades and always take advantage of learning opportunities. I’ve done internships and gone through interviews plenty of times, but none of this has cured my imposter syndrome. After being offered a job, I’m filled with doubts about whether I know enough about my new job responsibilities. These doubts plant themselves in my mind and grow into second-guessing, lacking confidence and constant nervousness. With graduation quickly impending upon me and the search for a “real job” approaching, I’m trying to shift my mindset away from feeling under-qualified and toward trusting my abilities — with the help of a few reminders.

No one expects you to know it all

For those of us actively trying to find internships, this is so important to remember. Most companies are setting out to give to you just as much as you’re giving to them (if not more). This means they want to teach and serve as a learning experience for students like us. There isn’t any expectation of having it all figured out on the first day on the job.

You’ve made it this far, so you must be doing something right

“Fake it till you make it” is a valid strategy for a while, but it can only get you so far. At a certain point, you have to recognize that your accomplishments are something to be proud of and they probably didn’t come from pretending to know what you’re doing. Resumes and portfolios are filled with examples that showcase your hard work and all the experiences you’ve learned from. If it looks impressive to an employer, that’s probably because it is.

Experiences

Good or bad, every experience is a chance to learn something new. Sometimes we may have to ask a few questions before we understand something, or maybe we realize that there are some things we might never fully understand. Either way, we leave situations knowing more than when we started. In college, we do internships to find out if we can see ourselves doing this as a career. No one talks about how it’s okay to realize you don’t like doing something. In these cases, we should take the good and the bad experiences with us moving forward and use them to guide us to what we do next.

You have to start from somewhere

So maybe you’re in a little over your head; sometimes it happens. If this is the case, you’ll figure it out as you go, and then next time around, you’ll know what you’re doing. When I’m learning something new, I ask about a million questions. It’s always frustrating going through some trial and error, but once it’s understood, then it never has to be learned again. It’s all about growing more comfortable by saying, “can you show me how to do this?”

At the end of the day, it’s okay to accept that we don’t know it all quite yet. As long as we’re making an effort to learn from our experiences and trust our accomplishments, then that’s enough to be proud of.

Cara is a senior studying advertising-public relations with minors in mass culture and collective behavior and entrepreneurship at the University of Central Florida. She finds peace in yoga and Insomnia Cookies. Most days you can find her studying at a coffee shop or exploring Winter Park. When not in class, she spends her time traveling with her family, playing board games or curled up watching New Girl. Her prized possession (and best friend) is her cat. To follow her selfies and adventures, you can check her out on Instagram @carajacc!
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