Getting into my dream university on the other side of the country was, and still is, one of my proudest achievements.
Freshers’ week came and went and before I knew it, I was busy with essays and lab reports and all things academia. I like being busy, I always have, but one day, powerful, intrusive thoughts began to cloud my mind.
“you don’t deserve to be here”
“you’re not smart enough for university”
“you only got here through luck”
“you will fail all your assignments”
These negative thoughts would try to convince me that I was incapable of ‘doing’ university and would make me doubt all of my hard work. These thoughts made me feel like I was the odd one out and made me feel guilty for feeling this way as I was in such a privileged position.
Therefore, after class one afternoon, I began to research these thoughts in order to see if this was an issue faced by anyone else. I found an article that detailed some of the symptoms I experienced and so, intrigued to find out more, I opened the link and began to read.
“imposter syndrome; what is this?”, I thought to myself as I began to take in the information. After five minutes of reading, I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.
I am not alone.
It turns out that a large amount of people, especially university students, suffer with Imposter Syndrome from time to time, elevated by the need for perfectionism.
After realising that I was not the only person who experienced thoughts like this, I began to enjoy my university life more and allowed myself to be proud of my efforts and achievements.
My take home message is that your brain may sometimes try to convince you that you are not worthy of certain things and that you are undeserving of your success. However, you are not alone. This syndrome is experienced by many people worldwide and so there is a plethora of help out there if the thoughts ever get too much.
By Lois John
University of St Andrews