Ever feel like you cheated when you didn’t? Do you ever feel like you just got lucky and didn’t actually earn this? Did you ever feel like you were hiding something when you weren’t? That’s imposter syndrome. Strange hey? But not as uncommon as you think.
On a lighter note, happy new year! I bet 2018 has incredible things in store for you, though no year will come without some setbacks and downfalls. One setback for me in the past couple years has been struggling with imposter syndrome. So let’s talk.
I felt this way during both of my university transitions. Sometimes things feel too good to be true so you kind of convince yourself that they aren’t true. You begin to doubt yourself and feel like you stick out in the room because you don’t belong there.
Breathe. Nobody sees this ‘elephant in the room’ except you, and the truth is: it’s not even there.
I felt like I was the only one with these strange feelings, but it turns out a lot my colleagues felt the same way. It turns out people experience imposter syndrome for different reasons. I think the main reason for me was my financial struggle. During both of my university transitions (and therefore moves into different provinces), I felt like I didn’t belong. I felt like I couldn’t afford the life I thrust myself into, and everybody knew it. Everybody knew I was just faking this. I didn’t belong in University. University is expensive.
What I was blinded to when I was consumed by these feelings is that university is expensive for everyone. Surely I wasn’t the only one struggling, and surely my struggle was invisible to most.
I’ll never forget when I was at my first ‘bonding’ event with my classmates and somebody described similar feelings (in a different context) and I nearly jumped over the table saying YES OMG YES THAT IS IMPOSTER SYNDROME. And then you’ll never guess what! One of the girls knew what it was and said she attended a workshop on campus to help her work through it. As the conversation grew, more and more people chimed in sharing the same thoughts.
So two crazy things were happening here:
- If we are all imposters, doesn’t that make none of us imposters? (I took philosophy courses for electives, can you tell?🙃)
- By speaking out suddenly I learned about supports that are available. I would never have known it was common enough to have the student union facilitate a whole workshop about it! (Unless I read the emails they spam me with but c’mon)
So moral of the story here guys is talk to each other about how you’re feeling! Whether that be other interns, preceptors, professors, friends – you really don’t know what can become of it. 9 chances out of 10 they can relate. And oftentimes that human connection – that understanding, is all you need to soothe those feelings.
My wish to you is that you strive for more human connection – more real talk, in 2018.