Reflective Writing: Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is the internal feeling one has when they constantly doubt themselves, always feel anxious, and have an extreme lack of self confidence. This syndrome can cause some serious mental health effects. It leads to an increased amount of fear, anxiety, depression, and causes burnout. According to research done by The Wall Street Journal, about 82% of people have reported that at some point in their life they have experienced the imposter syndrome.

I have experienced imposter syndrome, but not to its fullest extent. When it comes to computer science particularly, there are many times where I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, or not doing it right. I have moments of where I feel like I’m not the smartest and will never be an expert. However, once I get to this point I tend to pause and reflect on all that I have done and take a moment to realize it takes years of skills to become a comp sci expert.

Ethan Urie’s article is very open and true of the IT world today. He discusses how having these emotions and syndrome is completely normal and a part of life. It all depends on your mindset through all of this and being able to push forward through it. He informs the readers, that even the “experts” still have imposter syndrome, but if you can reflect your emotions and adapt the right mindset you can get through it and still be successful. Urie has six tips for his readers to combat imposter syndrome. One of them is to accept imposter syndrome and that it will always be a part of your life. Another tip is to think through all that you can do and all you have done. Having that positive self-talk is important. Another tip to fight this is getting confirmation from a professor or boss. This will allow you to hear your progress and how you are doing through someone else. One of his bigger tips involves planning for your future and establishing goals for what you need to focus on. Overall, I would say all of his tips are effective and helpful. Personally I use the third one often, I like to always think positive and think of all I can do instead of everything I can’t.

Another way to combat imposter syndrome is to try working in group settings more often. This way you can see that you are not the only one struggling, everyone is going through it. Often times it’s easier to process your emotions when there are people around to help explain and talk through with. Lastly, when working with a group, you have that certainty that in the end, the work will get done and you will get thought it.