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An Open Letter to Future College Graduates: Impostor Syndrome Is Real

Dear future college graduate, 


You might be close to graduation day. The thought of being done with college and entering the real world can be overwhelming. It might feel like you’re close to popping a bubble and that you will soon face what you always looked forward to when you were younger: an adult. One day, you’re a college student and the next day, you’re not. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. It’s completely normal to feel out of place and like you don’t belong in this weird stage you’re at. You may have heard of it, but it’s more likely that thousands of graduates are experiencing something that almost nobody talks about: impostor syndrome.


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Feeling like a complete fraud or a failure may occur even to the most successful of college graduates. This means that this psychological phenomenon is not mutually exclusive with success. Experiencing self-doubt and struggling with self-confidence is terrible, but extremely common. Maybe you feel that you’re not good enough– that you are not worthy of what you’ve been given. But it’s time to stop engaging in these toxic habits. 

Anxiety is normal. However, there’s no use in worrying about everything you can’t control. Maybe it will take a while to figure things out. Maybe you won’t find a job in the blink of an eye. Perhaps you don’t even know what to do with your life now that you’re done with college. Nevertheless, every life is different. Time is relative, and guess what? Maybe it’s not your time right now. But please, don’t be so hard on yourself. Allow life to do its job. You will be successful in your own time and you should believe that for yourself. 


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Embrace your impostor syndrome. Maybe I should use another verb. Accept? What I mean is that you shouldn’t deny that it exists. You should be able to recognize everything that you’re feeling, but you shouldn’t let it take over your life. Do not allow impostor syndrome to destroy your career and your professional plans.

Feel your impostor syndrome, but be stronger than it. Conquer it. You are not a fake. You are not an incompetent human being. You are also not alone. It’s normal to feel it. Expressing what you feel to others might help you. Repeat after me, “Impostor syndrome is real, but I’m  stronger than it.”


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With all my love, 

Nicole Hsiao


Nicole is a Chemistry major, who also happens to love Biology. She is an avid learner, and has a passion for science, literature and journalism. Eventually, the young dreamer aspires to merge her passions in the future as a neurosurgeon surgeon, researcher and writer. She enjoys eating chocolate ice cream, "mofongo," and her abuelita's fried "chuletas." Three essential words to describe her would be inquisitive, determined and honest.
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