Go to page content

Imposter syndrome

Gazette student columnist is here to tell you 'You're doing amazing'

Student Life | Student View

By Hayley Whelan

If you have impostor syndrome, you feel like you are underserving of what you have accomplished.

You feel like all the praise and acknowledgement that you receive for your hard work and dedication is misplaced.

It makes you feel like you are being rewarded for someone else’s achievement and you don’t deserve the success you are experiencing. It also makes you feel that at any moment someone may realize the “truth,” and revoke your awards or achievements.

A trick?

Impostor syndrome is something that I, and many other students, struggle with.

Perhaps it stems from less than stellar self-esteem, or the feeling that I don’t live up to my expectations and therefore should not be rewarded for my work.

“Although I worked hard last semester, I consistently felt like I was doing something wrong.”

It feels as if I achieve these things due to sheer luck or that I have tricked everyone into thinking that I am intelligent.

Here is an example of when impostor syndrome can come into play: Although I worked hard last semester, I consistently felt like I was doing something wrong.

I was comparing myself to an idealized student. I told myself that if I had managed my time better, I wouldn’t have had to stay up all night to finish labs, and I would have had more time to study for my tests.

The reality of the situation was that there was just not enough time to complete every little evaluation that was thrown at me. Even knowing this, I still felt as if I didn’t deserve to do as well as I did last semester.

I felt as if there must have been a mix-up. These grades weren’t mine – I should have barely passed last semester.

At least that’s how it seemed.

Emotion based

When I deal with impostor syndrome, it is difficult to accept praise and I detach myself emotionally from my achievements.

Though friends commend me on my work ethic, I feel like I don’t deserve to be applauded for what I have done.

I feel guilty when people congratulate me, as if I deceived them. They don’t know about the many hours that I feel I wasted, the ones when I attempted to catch up on sleep or take time for myself instead of studying and doing schoolwork.

“Impostor syndrome takes away your ability to celebrate the small victories.”

This is just one student’s example of a brush with impostor syndrome. Some students don’t even realize that they’re experiencing it.

Recognizing that the emotions that you are feeling are real, but are highly based on your perspective is the first step to overcoming impostor syndrome.

Exercises in building self-esteem and counselling can help you to begin to accept yourself and your achievements, and to believe that you deserve to be rewarded for your hard work.

Impostor syndrome takes away your ability to celebrate the small victories. It robs you of the ability to truly accept that you have done a good job and are deserving of praise.

But you are. If you wake up every day, turn on your computer and continue to put effort into your education, you deserve a thousand commendations.

Congratulations! You’re doing amazing.


To receive news from Memorial in your inbox, subscribe to Gazette Now.


Latest News

Hurricane Fiona

Supports available for Memorial community

Acknowledging Mahsa Amini

A message of care from President Vianne Timmons

Life assignment

A Q&A with Outstanding Community Service Award recipient Dr. Zainab Jerrett

International innovation

Student, med-tech partnership to help explore U.K. markets

Natural medicine

Memorial researchers endorse Canada’s first nature prescription program

‘Vital support’

More than $285,000 investment for high-performance research infrastructure