Discover more from Xavier Ripoll
“Who am I?” is a question one can pose to themself quite often, specially in other, more subtle forms. This is notably true in contexts where one might feel challenged, such as at work, at school, at the gym, etc. In such situations, particularly when observed by and compared to peers, people may feel like they are underachieving even when they are not. This, accompanied by a fear of being found out to be a fraud, is known as the impostor syndrome.
This is a pattern I've repeated over and over in my undergraduate studies: when taking a new course, I feel confident enough, but as the weeks go by, I constantly fear I'm lagging behind the minimum study amount, and by the end of the semester I feel like I'm going to fail. Of course this doesn't happen to the same degree with all subjects, but the most difficult ones hit especially hard.
Similarly, at work, every time I get stuck with a particular issue, I tend to feel very incompetent. In this setting the feeling is even worse because the deadlines are shorter and the inspection from above of the work is closer and more important. Even though I'm a few courses shy of graduating as a computer engineer, and I have (in general) good grades, I often see myself as someone who is a lesser programmer than his workmates.
But I have to look back, around and forward.
Looking back allows me to see that I have not been cheating my way through life. Looking around helps me see I'm not worse or better than most of my peers. And I must look forward in order to keep in mind that I'm not walking into a job or a future impossible to face for me. At times, everyone feels like thay can't keep up, but our ability to overcome these difficulties has to help us move continue doing what we do without this irrational fear.