Imposter Syndrome is when you feel you are not qualified or deserve to be where you are despite all of your skills, talents, and accomplishments. The first time I experienced imposter syndrome was a few weeks before I transferred to UMBC, but I did not know then it was imposter syndrome. I was worried that I would not do well in my program or everyone else in the program would be more experienced than me. I also kept thinking I did not deserve to be where I was. I was in shock that I had made it to the next level of my education, attending university!
When I began my first social work internship last fall, I began to feel the imposter syndrome work its way back. I felt that other students would be able to do a better job than me. I loved my internship and felt privileged to be there but kept feeling that I did not deserve to be there. I learned to accept the challenge and make the best of my experience. Let’s look at some things we can do or remember imposter syndrome attempts to make its way into our heads.
Putting the Thoughts into Perspective: Recognize what you are feeling and dispute the feelings. You would not be where you are if you did not deserve to be. Remind yourself of your accomplishments, qualifications, and positively reassure yourself. You are worthy of this. It may feel like you just got lucky, or it is too good to be true but even if that was true would you want negative thoughts to keep you from experiencing incredible opportunities?
Talk About It: Try not to let imposter syndrome take over. Speak with a mentor about how you are feeling, they most likely experienced it as well! Be open with your friends as well, especially those in the same field as you. I felt such a relief learning my social work peers were experiencing the same feelings as me. Seeing a professional can also be beneficial. Remember, USG’s Center for Counseling and Consultation is open for virtual appointments!
Take Protective Measures: In my last post, I suggested writing a “for when you’re doubting yourself” letter as a Valentine’s Day gift. I want to suggest this concept again but in a different way. I want you all to get a mason jar and fill it up with positive affirmations about yourself. Begin with your thoughts such as “I am organized” and “I am bright”. You could even include obstacles you have overcome. Then I want you to ask those close to you to provide you with a few and write who said it. Keep this in your workspace for positive reassurance.
It’s so easy to look down on ourselves but we have to remember that we are worthy of the good things we obtain. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you. So learn to take constructive criticism, take this is as an opportunity to grow. Remember it is okay to not always be the best.
If you are looking for an internship or employment opportunities in your field check out the Career and Internship Center! They have wonderful career coaches and were so helpful with my resume and cover letter last year.