I still face my fair share of feeling inadequate, feeling like I’m not enough for the course that I do and not enough to match up to the people around me. Studies at Imperial already comes with tons of workload. Being the overly ambitious person that I am, I just can’t stop myself from committing to exciting opportunities and projects! I’m literally surrounded by the best and brightest people around and if I were to experiment or embark on a new project, it’d of course be here, no brainer! That being said, every now and then, I’d get hit with the thought that I am inadequate and that I do not belong here. Everyone else is so smart and seem to know what they are doing while I’m just here, winging it every step of the way.
On a normal day, as I was commuting back home from uni, I have my headphones on and was listening to my daily dose of Ted Talks. It was about the Imposter Syndrome. Listening to it really shone a different light on what I was going through. It made me realise that I wasn’t the only one facing it. I did notice that many people around me have expressed that they too are going through the same thing, but in subtlety. Being the “sciencey” person that I am, I wanted to test my hypothesis. I approached a couple of my friends who are studying the same course, and a few doing other courses to make sure I was getting data from a wide pool of samples. I can safely say that I am for sure, not alone.
The reason why I would think that I’m alone in this struggle is that I don’t show it on the outside and so does everyone else. On social media, I portray myself as this kid from Malaysia who’s living his life, exploring new places and learning new things. That is definitely true, but I’ve completely eliminated the ugly parts. The days where I’d get so overwhelmed, I couldn’t get myself to do any work. On those days, all I wanted to do was to leave London, to escape for a few days to recharge. Yes, recharging is important, but I soon realised that this is not sustainable, as all I’m looking forward is to my next getaway. I needed a solution, a long-term one that would sustain me through the rest of my course and my life when I enter the workforce.
What I’ve found to work so far, is, to be honest to the people around me about my struggles and talk about it. I soon realised that I wasn’t the only one. In fact, there are many who face the same issues and that talking about it really changes things. Not only do I feel better now, but I have also found a support system that I can fall back to when I feel overwhelmed. By having people who understand the struggles you’re going through and support you along your journey as you support theirs, life seems much better after all.
This is a raw and genuine entry, and I hope that this will help shine a light on the problem of feeling like an imposter. I really recommend you listen or watch the Ted Talk about the Imposter Syndrome by Mike Cannon (link here). Remember, you are not alone, and you are enough. If you need someone to talk to, please talk to the counsellors, your personal tutor and of course your loved ones ❤️.