What am I doing here? Everyone else already knows what they’re doing. They know what they are majoring in. They are getting better grades. I haven’t even gotten started yet and I’m already failing. I’m not ready for college. I can’t do this.
Any of this ringing any bells for you? You may have felt this way before. It always seems to happen when you’re embarking on a new phase of life. Starting college is one of the most common times we feel this way, because uncharted territory is scary and it’s easy to think we don’t belong. This feeling is called impostor syndrome.
You might feel this after receiving your first bad grade on an assignment or test, when you’ve experienced a negative social situation or if you haven’t found a solid friend group on campus. You might feel like you should just drop out or socially withdraw, but keep in mind this is every other freshman’s first crack at college too and all students go through problems.
Thankfully, there are ways to get through these feelings of self-doubt.
If you have already made some friends on campus, talk to them about what you’re going through. You might be surprised they feel similarly or at the very least, it will feel good to get some of the anxiety off your chest just by saying it out loud.
Find a Mentor
Is there one class you really enjoy more than the others? Talk to that teacher about what you’re going through. They will likely understand your situation, want to help you identify your strengths and acknowledge when you do well. This is one of the many things our faculty are really good at.
It’s really tough to meet people when you’re hiding in your residence hall any time you’re not in class. Check out the list of student organizations offered on campus and make it a point to go to meetings of a few you are interested in. You don’t usually have to make any big commitments and if it turns out you aren’t interested anymore, no harm. But you will probably end up enjoying yourself and finding people who make you feel included.
Fake It ‘Till You Make It
You’ve all heard it before, but this one is tried and true. It may seem like the Fake It ‘Till You Make It attitude isn’t one you should adopt if you’re trying to do your best, but it’s actually just another form of practice. Pretend you know exactly what you’re doing and pretty soon, you’ll start catching on. You still have to put in the work but having the confidence to do it (or even pretending you have the confidence) can alleviate some of that stress and allow your brain more space to do well.