Imposter syndrome in a “college town”
Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon of the internal experience of feeling doubt in yourself related to your academic or skill performance. The inability to internalize your proven success and insecurity over your standing describes the phenomenon. Those who struggle with this add the feeling of being undeserving of their accomplishments.
If this describes how you feel or have felt in the past, you’re not alone.
According to an article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, nearly 70% of people will experience this phenomenon at some point in their lives. The phenomenon is reflected differently between people, as the behavior behind it can be different. Examples of this include “perfectionists” that cannot meet their unfairly high expectations or “soloists” who refuse to ask for the help of others.
The causes behind the feelings associated with imposter syndrome are speculated and can vary between each person. Influences such as family dynamics, mental health or illness, childhood trauma or even just a competitive environment can affect it.
Living in a “college town” can bring this phenomenon fairly regularly. With consistent graduations, awards ceremonies, job announcements, etc., it can be overwhelming constantly being surrounded by people who seemingly are doing it right.
Despite how imposter syndrome may make you feel, you can overcome it. For many, social media and polite conversations leave out all the messy details of life we all experience.
Because this phenomenon is so widely experienced, it is very likely that you can share your experience with someone who has also dealt with it. Talking about your feelings and seeking affirmations from those around you can help you reframe your thoughts. It is important to also question yourself when these doubts arise. Why are you comparing yourself to someone who has had a different life than you? Are your doubts fair to you? Are you facing these feelings head-on?
It’s important to remember that we are all on this planet together, all living different lives at different paces. Talking to friends, seeing a specialist or even just daily affirmations are all great beginning points to overcoming imposter syndrome.