Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Self-Care

Graduate school can feel more isolated than undergrad. This lack of community and the sense of competition amongst your peers can lead to feelings of inadequacy. 

If you are struggling with imposter syndrome, please read the counseling services at UMBC. 

Communicate Your Feelings

If you doubt your capabilities, break the silence and tell someone. Talking to close mentors or peers can help release these feelings of doubt and create a better support structure for you to lean on when you need more self-assurance. Talking with your academic advisor could also help you organize your schedule so that you do not feel overwhelmed with work and projects, giving you more time to take care of yourself. Building this support system and attending counseling sessions can help reduce feelings of imposter syndrome. 

Beating imposter syndrome

Acknowledge Your Achievements

Striving for perfection in your graduate school journey is a worthy endeavor, but don’t let your goals stop you from embracing the small achievements. It is easy to focus on ways that you need to improve but be sure to reflect on each project you complete. You can do this by writing a list of things you did well and things that you have learned after completing each task. Part of the education process is enjoying the journey before reaching your destination, so try not to be too critical of yourself for things you do not understand yet. 

Focus on Yourself

Take a break once you have taken the steps prior and are no longer concerned with falling behind. Graduate school can be demanding, so try to find a positive way to release the stress you might be harboring throughout the week. Starting a hobby you enjoy can provide an outlet to feel confident and release negative thoughts. 

Graduate school can be overwhelming with the feelings of not meeting expectations, not progressing at the rate you desire, and the intense workload. Be sure to reach out to others and talk to a professional to beat symptoms of imposter syndrome. 

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Overcoming imposter syndrome during graduate school is an ongoing process that involves self-compassion, open communication, acknowledging achievements, and embracing your journey. Remember that you are not alone in these feelings, and seeking help from others can be transformative. Embrace the challenges, celebrate your successes, and grow through the experience. Grad school can be challenging, but with the right mindset and support, you’ll emerge more robust, more resilient, and ready to conquer any obstacle that comes your way. 

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