Building Confidence in Your First Internship: Five Tips to Tackle Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever experienced that gnawing, anxious voice in your head – a voice that continuously doubts your abilities despite all your hard work and triumphs?

You aren’t alone.

If you haven’t had the sorrow of being acquainted yet, let me introduce you to a sneaky little concept called imposter syndrome.

Merriam-Webster defines imposter syndrome as “a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success.” 

If you’ve ever experienced this distressing phenomenon, you are in good company. Up to 82% of people experience this condition, according to the American Psychological Association

As a college student on the cusp of entering the crowded workforce, I’m no stranger to the phenomenon myself. Despite the academic and professional success that I’ve found, I often find myself wondering if I’m worthy of the opportunities that come my way.  

Luckily, over the past few months, I’ve learned that impostor syndrome only wins if you allow it to. The next time you find yourself in a battle with imposter syndrome, consider using these five tips to keep pushing forward. 

Confide in people you trust 

We are often our own worst critics, and in moments of doubt, those criticisms are only exacerbated. It can be difficult trying to talk yourself down from the negative thoughts clinging to your mind. Because of this, it’s important to seek support from those closest to you.  

The people in your circle are there to uplift you in times of uncertainty and provide you with a safe space in your moments of need. When I’m struggling to feel empowered, I turn to the people that want to see me succeed for encouragement. 

Admitting your struggles can be intimidating, but your circle can help provide you with refuge from them. 

Celebrate your achievements 

When dealing with imposter syndrome, your wins can get lost in the noise, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You may even have more accomplishments than you give yourself credit for. 

I often find that writing out my accomplishments provides reassurance that my success is real, while the anxious thoughts plaguing my head are not. 

Recognizing the achievements that you’ve made allows you to step out of your overthinking and into reality. You didn’t imagine your past successes. Whether they’re big or small, they are real and yours to celebrate. 

Get comfortable with failure 

Failure is scary. In fact, it’s downright terrifying. But it’s a part of life that we can’t escape despite our best efforts. 

What you can do, however, is get comfortable with it. 

Imposter syndrome feeds off our fear of failure and triples that fear. However, contrary to our belief, failure doesn’t define who we are or what we are capable of. It doesn’t determine our worth, and it isn’t defining.

Once you get comfortable with the idea of failure, you can learn from it and use those lessons to overcome your imposter syndrome. 

Give yourself grace 

We’re often kinder to others than we are ourselves. Even when we need it the most, extending the same grace to ourselves that we extend to others can be quite a challenge.  

Fighting your mind is no easy feat, and sometimes it may even feel impossible. In those moments, you must be patient with yourself. Remember that you are only human and allow yourself to be just that.

Believe in your abilities 

No matter how hard your imposter syndrome tries to convince you otherwise, you are not a fraud. You worked day in and day out to earn your seat at the table and nobody can take that from you. 

Know that you are worthy of the opportunities that come your way and believe that you are capable. 

Conquering imposter syndrome is a challenge, but it’s never impossible. Believe that you are stronger than any thoughts of doubt you may experience and reach out for help when you need it. 

Editors Note: We are thrilled to announce that Breyana, a remarkably talented individual, has recently secured her first job in the industry. We are so proud of the work she’s done and can confirm that she knows what she is doing!

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