Imposter Syndrome

By: Marissa

Spring Break is over, and now it’s back to getting serious! Got to focus on getting this year done and out of the way, and getting ready for next year. I won’t lie, I am very nervous for next year, as I will, hopefully, be writing my thesis and getting the Hell out of here. I’m not saying that I don’t love it here, cause oh my God I do. I have not had more a glorious experience at a school, than I have had here. However, there are things that keep the majority of students from having a really great time here, especially academically. The biggest thing that does that to us, is this thing called Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is where you, a high-achieving individual, feels as if you are a fraud, a sham, a failure. It is where you feel as if you don’t deserve the success you have achieved, or where you can’t even accept the successes you have achieved. The thing is, with Imposter Syndrome, you don’t really discuss your feelings on the subject with others. For the fear of being discovered or seen as a fraud is more important than seeking validation, or even better, help.

I think what gives me the confidence to be able to write this is the fact that I have dealt with Imposter Syndrome for a very long time, not just in my years here at New College of Florida. When I was in elementary school and middle school, I was a very bright student. I still like to think I am, but back then, I felt like I actually knew it and I was confident in my abilities. Around the halfway mark of middle school, I transferred schools to a more demanding charter school on a college campus. I was surrounded by students that were brilliant! Even though I was lopped into that group through the eyes of my peers and mentors, taking high school level math courses in eighth grade, then transferring a year early to the college campus to take math courses.

Needless to say, I have had a lot of accomplishments to be proud of.  The part that freezes all that for me, and makes me feel useless, is I feel that because of my depression and anxiety, I don’t deserve to be at the level I am.

Last semester was a perfect example. I took a class with one of my favorite professors, titled “Religion & Gender.” I passed with flying colors, as my evaluations say, however, going through that class day to day was extremely difficult. Everyday I would walk into class, having something I wanted to discuss from the reading from the night before. I would sit and listen to everyone else first, then toss my ideas out the window. My papers in that class always received a satisfactory, and I always got good comments, but I always felt like a fraud being in that class.

I was the only first year in that class, and of course, the youngest. My peers had more time to really research and read more than I had been able to. There was one girl in the class who I looked up to the most, but made me feel the most insecure about myself. For sake of conversation, let’s call this person Joy.

Joy was very intelligent in this field. She would come to class everyday having something to say about the reading that was so detailed and backed up with information, that it blew my basic comprehension out of the water. I envied Joy for the longest time. One day my professor for that class, Dr. Marks, pulled me aside, realizing that I had issues speaking up in class. She gave me the best academic advice I feel like I have ever received, and that was to set lower expectations for myself, so when I achieve them, I will feel far better about myself, and will eventually be able to reach those higher goals with ease. Dr. Marks, when I told her how I felt about discussing things in class, how I felt about Joy and the other students, told me that basic is just fine. If I wanted to discuss how something made me feel or what I thought right off the bat after reading the first two paragraphs, that was perfectly fine. As long as I try.

As the next semester rolls around, I had the opprotunity to become closer with Joy, and we saw each other more often. One day I told her how I felt about having class with her the semester before, and how I felt being in that class. I told her how I thought she was very smart, but because of that I felt incompetent. She was taken aback, and visually shocked. She told me that she had felt the exact same way about me and what I had to say in that class, and she felt like she wasn’t good enough.

Needless to say, it was a funny encounter.

Imposter Syndrome affects probably every student at my school. I know for me, it really hits hard because I am moving twice the speed through the program, compared to the other first years. Instead of finishing the program in 4 years, I will be done in 2.

I’m already halfway through.

That being said, I feel as if I don’t deserve these achievements I have scored, and I could never be as good as other upper-years. But sometimes I have to take a step back and realized, I have kicked my own ass millions of times to get where I am, and I won’t let those ass kickings be for nothing. Not only that, but I will not let all those years of my mothers motivation be wasted on me failing because I didn’t feel good enough. Because dammit I am good enough, and so are you.

What makes you feel the most insecure? Work? School? Relationships?

Shoutout to New College of Florida for a great first year!


If you would like to read more in detail about Imposter Syndrome click here, to visit the American Psychological Association that has a great outline on what it means to have Imposter Syndrome.

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Where Have You Been?

By: Marissa

As of late, I have been looking at myself in the mirror, and seeing a happier, more centered, me. I have to look at myself and question, ‘Where have you been?’ I ask myself that almost every day. Where has this person been in the past few years? Where have you been hiding? Lately, I have been in a really dark place. Things have happened that have kept me from doing the things I love. Things that honestly, I am afraid to post on social media. Maybe one day I will, but now, the wounds are too fresh.

I can’t express though how grateful I am for the people I have found in my life. Even during the dark times. In the past few weeks, despite the depression, I have found new friends, and even found people who I thought disliked me. Through all of that, I have realized how loved I truly am, how much people actually care, regardless of how I thought they viewed me. Because of recent events, I have been able to find these people and form new friendships and new bonds. I have the strongest support system I have ever seen, and I can’t explain how happy I am.

I can’t truly explain what it is like to live with depression. I can tell you the symptoms and the feelings I have, but I can’t really explain the darkness in my head. It happens to a lot of people, and I have realized that with each person that approaches me and tells me their story, offering their help. Suddenly I don’t feel so alone, so isolated. It took me to be alone in the darkness, just to realize that one the light comes on, there were hundreds of others standing right with me.

That is something I can explain though. As someone suffering with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), I have the tendency to feel as if I was alone. But once a light comes on, once someone comes to me and tells me their story, I realize I am not as alone as I think, and that is an amazing feeling.

I promise I will try harder to present more to you all. While there will be days that I don’t post for awhile, I promise you guys are always on my mind. Even if I don’t know you, you are a community that I can come to when I can’t stand for myself. While there will be bad days, while there will be times where I can’t control the tears, I just have to look in the mirror and say, ‘by God it’s great to be back.’

Stress? More Like Time to Confess

Good morning dear followers! I hope your day is a good one, and if you are in school, I hope the beginning of the semester isn’t too stressful. *BAM!* Topic for the day: stress! See how I jumped in right there? Well here we go! I realize that stress for most people that are reading, may not entirely be stress from school. But I recognize that, that is my situation, and I am more than happy to discuss how I deal with such.

I will admit, I am not always the best dealing with stress. I think I have touched this subject before, but let me explain again. Over the past semester, I realize how much better I have gotten at dealing with such. I feel as though my inevitable push into the real world has really helped me find the resources I need, as well as find the best ways to deal with such issues. But I also now realize how much of this stress comes from within. And as I planned, my New Year’s resolution is to be more honest with others and with myself in order to help relieve some of this stress (as well as be more present on this blog).

Recently, I was upfront and honest with my parents about an issue that had been causing me deep and profound stress for years. Soon, I would like to be honest with all of you about this issue, just now is not the right time [check back again soon ;)]. Never the less, this brought me more inner peace than I could have ever asked for. Sometimes that is all it takes, is to be open and honest, no matter what. Doing what is best for me, has taken me years to try and understand, comprehend, and execute.

But! Don’t think of it as a chore. There are simple things you can do everyday to take time for yourself, to relax.

  • Sip some tea,
  • Take a bath,
  • Read a book,
  • Take a walk (did you know that a 10 minute walk can help boost creativity?),
  • Talk to someone you love about what bothers you,
  • Sit alone and enjoy the sun,
  • Organize your room or office,
  • Write down a poem, a feeling, anything!

These are somethings that I know would help me on any given day. Try one or two! In the end, stress is inevitable. However, how you deal with it and how you change your life because of it, is how you can either make it better… or worse.

What helps you destress?

 

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Hitting home with those rough topics today.

A few weeks ago, after the Coming Out Monologues held by the NCF Alliance, I walked to the bay with my good friend Sofia. We talked about our depression and how we’ve gotten through it all. We both had our rants and chatted about what it all meant, and I realized something that night.

I am grateful for my depression.

I know, I know. “How can you be grateful for something that has destroyed you for years?” I have actually come to terms with my depression. It has made me into the person I am today. Sure, I will have my bad days. Everyone does. The part that helps it all make sense to me is the realization that this wont go away anytime soon. I’ve lived with it for a long long time, and I can foresee it for a long time to come. But the difference between me a few years ago, and who I am today, is that I have grown into a better human through my depression. I have been able to communicate my feelings much better than I did before, and be able to help others that need it.

I feel as if that has helped me more than anything else; being able to be there for other people. I seem to have the ability to feel others pain a lot easier than others may be able to.Through that, I have been able to help pull others up when they are down, and that in turn not only makes me feel better as a person, but lifts me up.

But overall, having those days where everything isn’t “okay,” is totally okay. It’s healthy. It makes you reflect and push through the days harder, and more efficiently. The trick is to not let it bury you. When I have piles of work I want to get done, social things I want to do, and I get hit with this wave of sadness, I do need to take a day off, and that is totally okay. You have to do what you need to do to make yourself feel better.

What pushes you to feel better when you feel down?

 

Hammock, Coffee, and Cold Nights

I missed y’all so much. I’ve been wanting to post for so long, but haven’t found the time. I am truly sorry. But I am here now and I hope everyone has been doing well. I hope you’ve been drinking enough water and getting rest.

So on campus, they had enough funding to buy 10 brand spanking new hammocks! Like wow. This campus is so beautiful and finally being able to spend time outside in this wonderful weather in a comfy seat is glorious. Especially in the morning when the weather is just right, chilling with my coffee and writing my feelings down. It is small things like this that just make you want to think about things, and boy have I been thinking about a lot. There has been so much that has been going on in life honestly. Nothing bad really, quite the opposite. Just a lot of overthinking and stress that makes me worry about having another panic attack.

But I am not that worried.

See the thing is, by me taking all this time to myself, which I don’t do too often, I have been able to reduce a lot of the stress that I have. Taking this time to myself to think and just sit and get the work I have to get done, done, has reduced my stress exponentially. Sure, I’ll have moments of sadness and wanting to pull my hair out, but it is no where as bad as it was. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in some parts of your life to aid other parts of your life. I have finally made myself routines to try and manage everything that I have come across. Social life, studying, sleep. It all fits in somewhere, but sometimes you have to sacrifice one to help the other.

I am absolutely gracious for the family, friends, and wonderful faculty at my school, that will take the time out of their day to actually pull me aside and make sure I am managing my anxiety, and that I am excelling in school as I should be.

What do you do to reduce stress?

Sweating out Sadness

Evening! Hope everyone is doing well, as per usual! I’ve got a lot to talk about since I missed yesterday. Yesterday was a very emotional day for me. My best friend graduated high school, and I can’t express how proud I am of her. These past two semesters had been really hard on me and, […]