Self Doubt and Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

***The writing of this blog was disrupted by 3 hours of me trying to figure out what the hell one of my assignments was asking. That’s basically my grad school experience so far in a nutshell. #imtrying***

So. I realize it’s been a minute since I’ve updated this thing, but let me TELL you: Grad School is hard(er than I thought it would be)! I’m just coming off of my first exams (yes, I have exams even though I’ve been in school for literally 7 days), and I am nothing short of exhausted. But, work aside, I’ve been having to dealing with a lot of changes (as expected) in my almost three weeks in this country, which has made it hard for me to find the energy to do anything outside of school (like this blog). Let’s talk about it.

Some of you may be familiar with the term Imposter Syndrome. If you’re not, it’s basically where you feel that you’re inadequate at something that you’re supposed to be good at. In my case, I feel like my performance thus far in school has been very underwhelming, and that’s not such a fun thing to think about. I’ve had many thoughts go trough my mind, from “I’m not smart enough to be here,” to “There was definitely a mistake in my admissions process,” to “Someone else deserves this spot more than me,” and then some. I’ve found myself in courses with people with really impressive resumes, and it makes me feel that I haven’t done enough to deserve a spot within such a strong cohort of people. Not only that, but the workload is beyond anything I ever thought I could be able to handle, but thus far I feel like I am scraping by (although I have yet to receive any passing marks, so we’ll see). And while I still feel very nervous and like I have a lot of work to do, I can list some things that have helped me feel a little bit better so far, just to show you that I CAN be positive (or try to, anyway):

1.Talking it out helps

If I have been comforted by one thing, it’s that I’m not alone. I’ve shared my doubts and fears with other people in my life (classmates, friends, etc.), and the general consensus is that there is nothing inherently wrong with that I am feeling; it can actually be quite common. It’s also not super surprising that I am feeling this way right in the beginning of this very new and scary process for me. Things may very well get better in time, and I can vibe with that.

2.Don’t compare yourself to everyone else

Of COURSE someone who’s older than you and with more work and school experience is going to be more experienced than you. That’s a given, Moriah, come on. Yet, me being me, I always think WAY too much about what other people think, and I can tell you it’s not the healthiest thing for me to be doing. The most important thing that I can do for myself is know that I am trying my best, and doing the best that I can do. With this mindset, I have already taken the time to reflect on some things that I have already done in such a short amount of time. Hey, I’m impressed with myself! That’s cool, Moriah, you’ve proven that you can do a thing that you haven’t done before. That’s great! Thats progress! Even the small wins prove that you are capable of something, and celebrating them in my case have made a great difference to my self esteem.

3.If all else fails, fake it ’til you make it

Hey, no one has to know that you don’t really know what’s going on. This is not my first time in the rodeo. I’ve experienced similar feelings during my undergraduate career, specifically when I was an engineering major and conducting my own research (another story for another day), and REALLY felt like I had no idea what I was doing. But I lasted a good while and presented posters to people who really expected me to know what I felt like I didn’t really know. I made it, tho. And I can make it again. And the good thing here is that I know that I am in the right place, pursuing a degree in a discipline where I know I really want to learn, work, and hopefully make a difference in this world. I know I will make it, and if it takes me having to hype myself up every morning, telling myself that I can do it and that I will make it (even if I don’t necessarily believe it), then so be it.

I’m kind of anxious putting my feelings about my experience so far out there, but I am really committed to being transparent on all aspects of my year abroad, and this is a part of it. But, writing it all out really helps me to reflect on the growth I have already made, and of that which has yet to come. I hope to update you on my progress, hopefully with good news of passing grades and a positive attitude towards the rest of my academic year! With that being said, I will try to update more frequently, but my work will always take priority. Maybe I’ll get good at this whole time management thing soon (and maybe blog it?!). That’s all for now.


Love love,

DJ Momo