Imposter Syndrome at University
April 26, 2023
One of the worst feelings in the world is feeling like a fraud.
I started university during the peak of COVID-19 in September 2020. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to do any exams which was a relief for me as getting into a Russel Group like The University of Warwick was stressful and added a lot of pressure on me.
Imposter syndrome is defined as when an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud. Research has found imposter syndrome to be a predictor of mental health and positively correlated with anxiety, depression, psychological distress, and minority student status stress (Parkman, 2016). It is also people of colour who are impacted more by imposter syndrome compared to non-people of colour both mentally and academically.
Not doing my exams contributed to my imposter syndrome as when I did actually begin my first year at university, I began to think this is just luck maybe I don’t actually deserve to be here. At university, it is very easy to experience a sense of non-belonging, especially for me as an ethnic minority coming from a state school now being surrounded by individuals who are from very different backgrounds who seem to grasp concepts much faster than I did and settle in much quicker.
However, I learnt to overcome my imposter syndrome by deciding to be more positive with my thinking and believing that I deserved to be at university as I worked hard preparing for my mocks and exams. I also learnt the importance of not comparing myself to others as we are all different and on different journeys which makes us unique and special.
You may find that you experience imposter syndrome whether at school or in a job and the best ways to overcome this feeling is to:
- Be kind to yourself - Acknowledge your small achievements and avoid comparing yourself to others
- Challenge your doubts and negative thoughts
- Talk to someone who can support and reassure you
- Become more involved in things outside of academics and work
- Limit your amount of social media use
If you need support with imposter syndrome, you can book an free initial consultation with a qualified mental health professional through Mindsum.