Imposter Syndrome

Feelings of imposter syndrome can be overwhelming, but by finding a supportive community and taking time away from classes, these challenges can be overcome.

Some days it feels like you are drowning. Drowning in stress, drowning in work, drowning in responsibilities, fully submerged underwater. The worst part about drowning is that you are helpless. You can flail around, you can try to swim or try to breathe. But in the end, if you are drowning, you will drown. But what if, on the off chance, someone near you is also struggling in the water?

Knowing you’re not alone might help you fight the water, fight your fate.

You might find that other individual in the water and work together to escape.

Imposter syndrome can feel like drowning. It feels like everyone around you has their life put together perfectly.

No one else is struggling with the classwork the way you are. No one else feels overwhelmed by moving into the dorms and meeting new people. No one else feels apprehensive about being on a new campus in a new environment.

People at Tech do not often openly discuss feelings of concern and inferiority.

The GroupMe chats are chockfull of students complaining that people are too slow to understand concepts or ask “dumb” questions constantly. The Zoom chats brag

of flying through homework assignments and easy exams.

But like a bad apple ruining the bunch, these individuals are fewer and further between than we may realize. They may be a vocal group, but they are not as common as we think.

Numerous students at Tech struggle with their classes and have to work hard to achieve good grades. The classes may be difficult or time-consuming, but this is widely agreed upon.

The library and other study spaces are full of students working hard to perform well in their courses. Even the students who are loudmouthed about the ease of their classes can be found, head down, working furiously on assignments.

Imposter syndrome infects the majority of students across campus. If you toss aside the braggarts and ill-intended haters, most people — even the most intelligent students — will gladly accept and reveal the truth: we are all struggling! You might be wondering, how can I overcome imposter syndrome when it seems to secretly afflict everyone around me?

Unfortunately, there is no obvious or straightforward solution to imposter syndrome. One way to work on those feelings of inferiority or stress is to stop comparing oneself to others.

Do the best you can to study and do well, and then banish it from your mind. You can’t do better than your best!

Another way is to surround yourself with people who are empathetic and honest. Even if your peers are not struggling in the same way you are, it is important to find friends who will not throw your shortcomings in your face in jest.

Find people who are honest about their struggles and are encouraging or caring.

As important as it is to both surviving and thriving in a wearisome environment, mental health is not discussed sufficiently at a school as tough as Tech. The school is infamous for its arduous classes, demanding professors and high workloads. Yet, mental health is a topic that is often glossed over.

In an environment such as this, we have no choice but to support our peers and help one another through our struggles.

Don’t be that student that makes others feel badly about their academic performance.

Be the student that makes others feel heard and encouraged.

Ingraining oneself in campus life is key to overcoming imposter syndrome.

Feeling close to Tech life, enjoying events on campus, and spending time with friends is the best way to feel a sense of belonging in an environment that can bring one’s spirits down.

Imposter syndrome may make students feel like they’re drowning, but together, maybe we can learn to breathe underwater.