impostor syndrome

I recently graduated with my masters, yet a lot of times I feel like a fraud.

Like I don’t deserve to be applying to the jobs that I am trying to get.

Or making the salary of these jobs.

I have constant doubts about my abilities, skills, and knowledge and I feel like I am not good enough.

These are all common symptoms of something called “impostor syndrome” or “a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud'” (Wikipedia). Until these past few months this is something I had never experienced before but it is quite common in recent graduates and professionals.

Even though all my grades have come in and there is no doubt that I have graduated and really do have my masters I can’t help but feel like someone is going to pop up and say that it was all a joke and I really failed.

In reading about impostor syndrome (in articles such as this Forbes one) I am reassured to know that this isn’t just me and that this is something that a lot of people are dealing with. Many people have the same feelings and problems that I have and because of that there are a lot of tips and ideas on how to deal with the feelings that I am not good enough.

What helps me the most with my impostor syndrome is:

  1. Surrounding myself with people who support and encourage me
    People like my husband, parents, and close friends have been wonderful for my self-esteem and confidence as they continually remind me what I have accomplished and that it wasn’t a small feat. I have a problem with minimizing my accomplishments and allowing myself to hear it from others helps me to feel like it wasn’t all a fluke.
  2. Reminding myself of the things I have accomplished
    It can be easy to forget the things that I have done in my life and especially in this time of my life when I am at home most of the time I can forget all the things that got me to this moment. Whether it is making a list, looking through photos and memories of the past few years, or taking a look through my resume it helps to ground myself and see that I have a lot of skills to bring to the table.
  3. Apply even if I am don’t meet all the requirements
    Applying to jobs is a process and not one that is entirely enjoyable. It is hard to look at the jobs that come up and knowing that you may not have all the requirements needed for the job. I find it helps to apply anyway because the worst that can happen is that you don’t get it. By showing yourself that you are good enough for that job however, you help to battle the thoughts that you aren’t good enough.
  4. Continue to grow and learn even though I am done with school
    This is the first time that I don’t have any school ahead of me, which is weird after 20 straight years of school. This doesn’t mean that I am finished learning however. I try to keep up on what is going on in the world of libraries by reading articles, journals, and blogs of other people in the field so I am not behind on what is happening in the world.

Impostor syndrome is something that a lot of people struggle with, including myself, but when you know that is something real and important you can work to prevent it. These were some of the tips and tricks that I find helpful, what do you do to help battle impostor syndrome?

4 Replies to “impostor syndrome”

  1. What industry are you looking in, if you don’t mind? I’m working on a career change and my new job that I spent less schooling trying to get has me feeling so much better than the one I spent years trying to get into. It’s weird, but science labs are like that.

    Like

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