Underneath your success, imposter syndrome loves to roam. It transforms your achievements into bundles of doubts. It belittles all those hours of hard work into luck that you don’t deserve.
According to Harvard Business Review, imposter syndrome is a “collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.” It makes you feel like a fraud. That your sparkling resume is invalid. That it all came down to luck.
With finals closing in and internship applications looming above our heads, imposter syndrome may feel more present than ever. And, you’re probably not alone. Researchers in 2011 found that about 70 percent of people will experience imposter syndrome at least once in their lives.
However, it is tied with success, especially for women.
Imposter syndrome was originally termed by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, who studied why high-achieving women often credited their success to luck instead of hard work. Nowadays, imposter syndrome doesn’t seem to discriminate. But, this study confirmed that those with imposter syndrome already have lots to be proud of.
Instead of celebrating your success, imposter syndrome can drive you into a panic to make your supposed fraudulent credentials feel more real than they actually are or add some extra padding to make our act seem more convincing. As someone who praises a “fake it till you make it” mentality, imposter syndrome may seem a little more nerve racking. But the problem is, when does it end?
There’s no concrete answer to why imposter syndrome occurs. But, once you start to understand what it is, it becomes a little easier to combat it. Imposter syndrome lies next to toxic comparison and while you can’t necessarily just “stop thinking about it,” you can limit your social media exposure. It’s easier to limit comparison when you’re not looking through job-listing Instagram bios or impressive LinkedIn announcements.
Reframe your thoughts. Imposter syndrome turns achievements to flickers of self-doubt. In order for it to occur it has to mean you definitely have some achievements strapped under your belt. Most importantly, remember to talk to someone. Reach out and share your doubts. You’ll be more than likely to talk to someone experiencing the same thing, especially in a competitive college like UF.
No one can take your success away from you, no matter how big or small. They are yours to keep. Never belittle them. While it may be beneficial to use imposter syndrome to motivate yourself to become the person you’re trying to be, you need to acknowledge your successes along the way.
Be proud of yourself for every small win you’ve achieved. It can be as small as waking up on time for your 7:30 a.m. lecture or cleaning your room for the first time in too long.
Be kind to yourself. You’re probably doing a lot better than you think. After all, you could be a student at FSU.
Lauren Rousseau is a UF journalism sophomore.