Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Mental Health

You’re Not a fraud: Imposter Syndrome and How to Defeat it.

Have you ever felt like you weren’t as good as people thought you were? Have you ever felt like you were a fraud waiting to be called out at all times? Do you feel like your success is based on mere luck, not your hard work? The feeling of inadequacy can be haunting and at times it can feel like everyone around you is much more competent than you are. Being plagued by self-doubt is not easy; it can be challenging, especially in academic settings. You might be suffering from what we call Imposter Syndrome. 

According to Webster Dictionary, Imposter Syndrome is defined as a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one's abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one's ongoing success. The term was first coined in 1978 by Georgia State University psychology professor Pauline Clance and psychologist Suzanne Imes. Imposter Syndrome can affect anyone regardless of profession or gender,  but people who are high achievers, perfectionists and those who suffer from anxiety are most likely to also deal with Imposter Syndrome. 

Oftentimes feelings of inadequacy are accompanied by the constant need to be perfect or the crushing fear of failure, which at times might seem like the worst thing in the world. It's important to develop a healthy coping mechanism for feelings of stress and failure in order not to fall into self-doubt and become a victim of Imposter Syndrome. Failure isn’t permanent but it’s an opportunity to learn and reflect. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress will help you a lot in the long run, especially in your academic career. 

It's necessary to know the signs of Imposter Syndrome to overcome it and to be free from constant self-doubt. Oftentimes Imposter Syndrome is accompanied by 

  • self-doubt & the inability to internalize and accept one's achievements -- not realizing or celebrating your accomplishments but instead focusing on the negatives. 

  • being overly critical of your performance -- judging yourself harsher than you would your own peers. 

  • setting unattainable goals and fear of not living up to expectations -- setting goals that will take time and constantly measuring yourself to expectations that can’t be achieved 

self-sabotaging -- running away from opportunities that you qualify for because you feel like you're not good enough. In order to defeat Imposter Syndrome, it is crucial to change the way you think and talk to yourself. Learn to celebrate your accomplishments big or small, give yourself a pat on the back for taking risks and getting where you are right now. It's important to speak and to be kind to yourself. Replace the intrusive voice with a friendly one. You got where you are because of your merit, not sheer luck. Give yourself some credit. You're exactly where you're meant to be. Reassure yourself that had you not been you, you wouldn't be where you are. You earned your place here, now take a deep breath and go celebrate your accomplishment.​

Ayat Ibrahim

UWindsor '24

Ayat is a 2nd year English Literature student, lover of cats, food and tea. In her spare time she can be found either reading or watching bad sitcoms.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️