So ... You've got imposter syndrome

University can be stressful at times, but just remember that you deserve your place here as much as anyone else!

Cc Lee
2nd March 2022
Image from Unsplash @Elisa Ventur

It’s still very near the beginning of term, and already the anxious waves of “Do I even deserve to be here?” And “Oh my god, everyone else is so much smarter than me,” has begun to sink in. Maybe too deep. But, fear not, I promise you – you deserve to be here at this University, just as much as everyone else.

Maybe a lecture was extremely overwhelming; all this science stuff – what even is an Ursus arctos horribilis? Now before full panic mode sinks in, let the subject breathe. If you don’t understand a lecture, don’t revise it straight away. Leave a day or two, and then thank goodness – thank god – for ReCap. Go through the slides slowly and read around the subject material. If things still don’t make sense, email your seminar leader, the lecturer or your personal tutor. Their job is to pacify the anxiety, not to increase it. Or, ask a friend to explain it or go through how they understand the meaning of “maximalist". Maybe they struggled too, and you can work through this together.

Just because someone is the most “well-read" doesn’t mean they have the best points or most relevant ideas.

Perhaps there's someone in your seminar who’s always read the text or really long essay, who’s just spending their free time reading around the subject. Intimidating or just annoying? Anyway, the main thing to focus on is what the seminar leader responds to positively. Just because someone is the most “well-read" doesn’t mean they have the best points or most relevant ideas. (Side note: this also applies to the people who shout the loudest too.)

All in all, University is tricky and overwhelming at times. But you are here. You got in, no matter which way and you are here for a reason. So the next time that really annoying person in the seminar talks for ages about how much they loved an old English poem, remind yourself that you aren’t them and your opinion on how much you hated it is relevant. Why not counter their points?

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