September 28, 2016, by Amy

I Have Impostor Syndrome


You’re probably thinking right now what on earth is this ‘impostor syndrome’? Well according to Wikipedia, it is ‘a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.’

I’ve known I have felt this way for a while but didn’t actually know it had any kind of name or if anyone else felt the same way. That was until my boyfriend came home from a placement and said that a few fellow researchers were talking about how they have ‘impostor syndrome’ and immediately described exactly how I was feeling.

There’s a test online found here which only takes around five minutes and you answer a series of questions that demonstrate how someone with Impostor Syndrome feels. I scored a scary 90/100.

Even from a-level results day when I found out I had a place at university, I never really felt like I deserved it. I felt it was down to luck, or made excuses like ‘maybe they just didn’t fill enough places this year’. Once I got to university, I was (and to be honest still am) terrified of someone finding out that I’m really not intelligent. I constantly combat the fear that I am going to be identified as an impostor or fraud.

Even to this day I have such difficulty embracing my achievements and recently when I received my highest marked work back my first thought was ‘oh it’s only because I had an extenuating circumstance and they felt sorry for me.’

I don’t know where this self doubt comes from, particularly in regards to being a student but this is not an uncommon feeling and there is something so comforting in the idea of feeling like you’re not alone. It is suggested that at some point in their lives 70% of the population will be affected in some way and the rate rises with people whom are high achievers and women.

The point of this blog I suppose is that as I head into my final year of university, I want to go in with some confidence in my ability and not diminish my achievements to good luck or chance. I got here because I worked hard and I deserve it and it is so important to keep that in mind.

If anyone out there is feeling the same way, I hope you know that you are not alone and you should be proud of your every success and to be a part of such a wonderful university. You got here because you deserve it – simple as that.

Sorry for this more personal and wordy blog, I’m sure my usual classic ‘top 5’ lists will return soon.

Posted in Amy