I am an imposter!

Today I will talk about imposter syndrome that I have struggled with for a long time.

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Whenever something goes wrong, I feel like an imposter. I didn’t even know what imposter syndrome was until my freshman year at college. I saw a conference panel at DSW (Division of Student Welfare) in my college titled Do you have imposter syndrome? They gave us 20 questions to answer, and if you score 60 out of 100, then you might suffer imposter phenomenon.

I calculated my score, and I got 95 out of 100, and I immediately feel like an imposter about the imposter syndrome because I didn’t even know about it an hour ago and now I am best at it!

The imposter phenomenon is where you feel as if your success is only to luck or a mistake or a fluke or anything other than you actually deserving your own achievement. My score on the test was inconsequential but the feeling of being an imposter that would someday be exposed is something that followed me since the end of high school. I went to high school with some of the overachievers. Almost like I was searching for something I didn’t belong. I just didn’t see myself as one of the successful people.

When I applied for colleges I got rejected from my dream school well I did get into some good schools in the end. I rationalize my failures by being like well I am not one of those smart kids so I guess that makes sense.

And this obviously a harmful line of thinking!

In college, it was worse because I was plunged into a computer science major with no background in it. You know most people aren’t accomplished in their major before they go to college but with a lot of computer science freshman, there’s this pissing contest to see who started programming first which doesn’t do anything but discourage the people who just started doing this thing by telling them in order to be successful they have to start doing this in kindergarten. Meanwhile, I was blind to the majority of other kids who were just like me busting their butt trying to keep up and fear of these kids one day being like

who doesn't know Polymorphism get him now!!!!!!

So then my sophomore year after a lot of work and stressing out about careers I land my first major internship. When I got the internship I had convinced myself that it was like an act of affirmative action that there was no way they would have hired me normally that they were just filling a quota and that’s the only reason I was there.

A reasonable person is like this is a big deal. Congratulations!

My meetings with my managers were like Sarthak, we are really happy with the work you're doing.

And my reaction was like (inside me):

Work! He knows I am doing work. it’s only a matter of time before he realises that I cannot reduce quality work. In a few weeks, I will be packing my bags and leaving this godforsaken town for good. It was fun while it lasted.

And then there were my fellow interns a who’s who of the brightest young minds in the world. So basically I was working with superhumans. It was actually that extreme that helped me that get out of my own head. I’ve been carrying around with this inferiority complex it was one of the main reasons for my feeling like an imposter. The basis of which was that be smart successful people were nothing like me they were something greater. After extended exposure with people who to me had reached some of the highest levels of success. I began to see their humanity. I saw their fears and their mistakes. While I started out feeling like an imposter discovering these similarities made me feel like maybe I do belong.

The thing about imposter syndrome is rooted in a superficial view of others. Whenever I compare myself to someone on a pedestal I see only our differences because the colour of my skin or my family background or my upbringing are often different from the idealized picture of success in India.

On top of that, I have a vivid knowledge of my own insecurities and for the other person, I just assume those don't exist for some reason.

The main way that I have combated my imposter feelings is to experiment with just feeling like I belong even my instinct is the opposite. If you're like me and suffer from the feeling of being an imposter, Know this your feelings are valid but you deserve to be what you are.

There very well may be superficial differences between you and someone who feels like they deserve to be where they are but the only difference that matters is that they are treating their position like they deserve it. We can’t let this hold us back because let’s be honest there are people out there that really think that they deserve that they have and they don't.

We are so far on the side of the spectrum that we can give ourselves a little slack every once in a while.

Tell me about your experience with this stuff in the comments!I would say “Fake it till you make it” but when it comes to “deserving what you have” you have to do it until you are it.

Please like and share. I am thankful for all the responses I am getting. I will keep writing. Tell me about your experience with this stuff in the comments or say hi at sarthak.acoustic@gmail.com.

Software Engineer @Vedantu, Former Intern @Hackerrank, GSoC @Wikimedia, Former Intern @Vedantu, Codeforces(Expert)

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