Imposter Syndrome in Students can occur if you feel out of your depth and inferior to your classmates.

How To Tackle Imposter Syndrome in Students

UK Google searches relating to ‘imposter syndrome’ reached an all-time high at the end of last year, research from Study Hub found that 2 in 5 university and college students may suffer from imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome: Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

Although it’s still unknown exactly what causes imposter syndrome, it’s thought the pressures of perfectionism, ever-increasing social comparisons and a fear of failure all contribute. For many students, however, exams and assignments are always at the forefront of their minds so it can be tricky to escape the additional stresses of education.

Follow these simple steps to tackle imposter syndrome in students and look after yourself whilst studying or looking for graduate work!

Talk about your concerns

Talking to your family, friends and tutors can help you feel less overwhelmed, and you may find that others feel the same way. In addition, there are also a number of services offered at university or college to help and support you whilst you are studying who will help you make decisions and changes that can develop your emotional resilience, enabling you to fulfil your academic, vocational and personal potential.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Social media, peer pressure and general society norms, mean people are constantly comparing themselves to others. So it’s important to remember that these external influences only contribute to a fraction of people’s lives and most people will have gone or are currently going through a similar experience.

Going on a social media cleanse for a week or two is a good way to free yourself from thoughts of comparison. Unfollow accounts that you know can trigger negative feelings towards your own progress. You may also find that you naturally become more productive and have a clearer mind during study periods!

Reward yourself

Start celebrating the small wins, whether it’s getting to the first stage of an interview, presenting in front of people or simply making it to the end of a busy week. Creating a positive attitude towards your work will help remove negative thoughts.

Reward yourself with physical objects such as chocolate or new clothes, as well as personal time and relaxation with a good book or Netflix for each small win so that you have something to look forward to and give you drive.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

You may worry that if you are seen to make a mistake, or not know something, this will be proof to those around you that you are an ‘imposter’. In fact, we all get things wrong sometimes and we can’t know everything.

The fear of getting things wrong can lead you to silence yourself, stopping you from communicating the valuable ideas that you have. You may be surprised to find that others receive your idea very differently from how you expected, so be sure to keep expressing your thoughts and opinions!

Know your strengths

Document your achievements as you go along to challenge any feelings of inadequacy. Writing down your victories no matter how big or small can boost your self-esteem and allow you to be surrounded by positive thoughts. Be proud of your accomplishments and learn to accept compliments from others. Remember that Imposter Syndrome in Students is a common occurrence and recognising it to begin with is a key step forwards.

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