As a first generation Latina, it has been very difficult to not feel self-doubt or a sense of non belonging at an institution where I am the minority. I had felt this feeling for years and would try my best to shrug it off. It was not until recently that I was able to define this feeling and begin to cope with it. Impostor Syndrome is defined as “the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills". I want to make clear that I am not a professional in the psychology field, but through my own experiences, I have found the best ways for me to cope with this. Here is a list of some ways that I manage my impostor syndrome and other ways that I have researched that have been effective for others going through the same thing.
One of the first things one can do is to acknowledge the feelings instead of shrugging it off. Ignoring the feeling does not do much and getting into the habit of hoping the imposter syndrome goes away on its own is unhealthy. Take time to understand what the feeling is and the times and settings that it comes up at. Do certain people or places trigger the feeling? Understanding the triggers of the feelings allows one to be more aware of what causes the imposter syndrome to arise. When I had the option, I chose to minimize the amount of time I spent in certain settings; however, it’s not always possible to do this so I have other recommendations too.
I love consuming various forms of media- music, television, film, and more. One thing I did freshman year of college was that I made playlists on Spotify that I could relate to when I felt frustrated, needed a pick me up, or when I needed a reminder that I deserve to be where I am. I would also look for quotes and would bookmark them so I could look back at them when I needed them most. Others who have also felt imposter syndrome have turned their pain into art. Finding this type of art helped me understand how others dealt with this frustration. Some of the best art that I could relate to were poems, videos, and drawings on Latinx media outlets.
Reflect and Goal Setting
Reflect on all the hard work that you put in to get to where you are today. Your success did not happen overnight and you need to remind yourself that you earned what you have. After doing this, think about the goals and things you want to accomplish in the future. I am a big fan of organizing my thoughts, so a way in which you can do this is through lists in a notebook. It’s a clear and easy way that helps you track all of your thoughts and you can continue to add more ideas whenever they come up.
Remember you are not the only one going through this. Sometimes it can seem that everyone has their life together or has never experienced self-doubt. Try to find people that you can talk to who are going through the same thing. This allows one to feel great relief and have someone that they can turn to who understands what imposter syndrome is like. If you don’t have a friend going through this, you can also turn to a school counselor as they are trained in how to deal with this. Their job is to provide you with a judgment free zone and help you come up with more coping techniques.
In the moment, it may feel like this feeling is impossible to deal with and that the impostor syndrome will forever control you. Again, it takes time to learn the best ways to deal with it. There is no one way and everyone has different techniques to address it. Although the impostor syndrome is still present in my life, it does not consume me as much as it used to. I am working towards trying to fully be in control, but it will take time. Remember you can too and you will!