Imposter Syndrome – You DESERVE your offer – OurWarwick
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Imposter Syndrome – You DESERVE your offer

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Emily Alger | Mathematics and Statistics (BSc MMathStat) Contact Emily

It’s the time of year where slowly you may be getting your University offers, or maybe you’re beginning to feel the pressure of school work or exams. Getting an offer or working towards good grades are fantastic achievements, however you might also be feeling other emotions.

When I received my offers I felt very lucky, sometimes so lucky that I felt some offers must have been a mistake. Over 70% of us will experience a feeling like this, where even given your great achievements you feel unworthy – it’s called Imposter Syndrome. I’m here to help you fight against it.

I’m only me though

Imposter Syndrome centres around this feeling of being in your position from sheer luck. For me, sometimes it can feel like I’m less deserving or less clever than other students I perform just as well as: one day they’ll find out I don’t deserve my achievements and the universe was just lucky to me. I have certainly felt this feeling all my life, but when it comes to studying I feel it amplify, especially as I consider a career within academia.

There are ways to combat this feeling, here are my top 4 tips I’ve discovered both through research and my own experiences.

1. Work with other people

University is a fantastic way to bring together 100s of bright, like-minded students into one lecture hall. I was one of two students in my A-Level year group who decided to study Maths at University, and yet there I was surrounded by 150 students I didn’t know, let alone know their ability. Assignments and exams were challenging and slowly I began studying with students I had always looked up to as “beyond my ability”. Working alongside people who I had always considered far smarter than me made me appreciate their whole learning process, not just their final grades. I began to see similarities between them and me: silly mistakes, having to think very hard, and sometimes genuinely being stumped by a question. I recognised my process was a student’s process: persisting with problems and revising for exams. Suddenly their superhuman ability became human – they made mistakes too. Don’t be afraid of failure, as humans we do make mistakes. Every experience is a learning process and a progress. There is no perfection, I recognised that whilst working with friends.

2. Talk to people you trust

It can be scary to talk to friends about feelings, but I would encourage it. It can help put your concerns and achievements into perspective. I suffer from perfectionism, especially during online learning as there isn’t so much to think about outside studying. Talking to friends and family can help give you a reality check and this can help reassure you that being you is enough and you are worthy of your achievements. It might also help start the conversation for a friend who is battling Imposter Syndrome privately, and you can discuss shared experiences.

3. Celebrate your successes

Every success you achieve deserves celebrating! Sometimes when I feel a drop in confidence I write down my successes or remind myself why I am worthy. If you’ve received an offer to study at Warwick then you’ve received an offer to study at one of the most prestigious universities in Europe, that’s a fantastic achievement! Try and accept compliments from others. If someone compliments you, you don’t need to find an excuse for your success – just accept the praise!

4. Be authentic

I felt a great relief when I stopped comparing myself to people I saw in day to day life and posts on Social Media. You might feel like you might need to act a certain way around people to be taken seriously or to be recognised as a student. Why do you make these assumptions? It might risk you feeling like a façade. Instead try contributing your own ideas and thoughts to conversation. Take small steps first – you’ll slowly gain more confidence and belief in your own capabilities.

Here are some more resources if you would like to read more about Imposter Syndrome or access support:

Warwick Wellbeing services: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/wss/topics/impostorsyndrome/

Warwick Careers Blog article: https://careersblog.warwick.ac.uk/2017/03/28/how-to-deal-with-imposter-syndrome-as-a-phd/

Time article: https://time.com/5312483/how-to-deal-with-impostor-syndrome/

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Emily Alger | Mathematics and Statistics (BSc MMathStat) Contact Emily

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