When I first started college, I began to feel the weight of a college student. Exams, presentations, homework, attending lectures, and participating in club meetings outside of class were jam packed in my schedule. As my workload quickly increased, I began to feel as if I was not capable of being a productive college student. I would often compare myself to others and would feel as though I did not belong at school because of the struggles that I have experienced. I would often feel a strong sense of being an “imposter” as I sat with many college students in my class. However, I knew that I could not allow what I was feeling to stop me from achieving greatness. I had to remind myself that I was capable regardless of how I feel and that nothing was impossible if I just put the work in. If you are a first-generation college student that struggles with the feeling of being an “imposter” college student, you are not alone. You have worked very hard to be in the position you are in today and should be very proud of that accomplishment.
As a freshman first-generation college student, starting college was far from easy. I have seen plenty of other students in my classes successfully complete assignments and would often know more information that I did. It had appeared as if they did not struggle at all! Feeling like I was the only one who would struggle in my classes, I often felt as if I did not belong at college because I was not on the same academic level as everyone else. I would often question if I could even pass a class because I felt like I lacked the capability to understand material. However, during the midst of me feeling like an imposter student, I had to remind myself to not compare my journey to others and to continue to put forth my best effort. I had to tell myself that I am on a different path than everyone else and that I would have not been accepted into the school and had been placed in the classes that I was in if no one thought that I was not capable of being there. I had to remind myself that being in the position was a huge accomplishment and that I should take full advantage of this opportunity. I had to reassure myself that everything would be fine, that I had what it took to pass all my classes, and that what I was experiencing was normal.
To any first-generation college student who struggles with imposter syndrome, just know that you are not alone. Try celebrating your accomplishments and take note of how many that you have achieved so far. You have worked just as hard as everyone else and deserve everything that has been given to you. In addition, try to avoid comparing yourself to people. Everyone’s academic journey is different. Your academic journey is precious and is just as unique as you are. Continue to preserve and ignore any negative thoughts that may roam in your head. Recognize the difference between facts and your feelings and try to separate the two. Also, get rid of the idea of being “perfect.” Understand that no one is perfect and its okay to make mistakes or to not know something. Learning new information every day is what college is all about. Furthermore, try to talk to people around you, such as your close friends, professors, school counselors, and family about how you feel. They may even have an encouraging word to try and help you battle those feelings of being an imposter. Lastly, writing some positive affirmations or practicing some religious practices such as prayer or meditation could also help with those thoughts of imposter syndrome. If you are a first-generation college student battling the feelings of being an imposter, you are not alone. Understand that you are more than capable of achieving much success through your journey as a college student and you are so deserving of the position that you are in today. Continue to work hard and put forth the effort because it will pay off one day. Remember, victories do not come by accident, so give yourself credit for every single achievement that you have had so far. Also, do not put so much pressure on yourself. You are human just as everyone else and you will receive everything good coming to you if you continue to preserve, even when things seem uncomfortable. Truly take the time necessary to embrace your strength that you possess as a first-generation college student.