Imposter Syndrome

By: Sabian Murry

Imposter syndrome: the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills. 

Going away to college can be a challenge in many different aspects. Socially, you’re tasked with making new friends. Academically, you’re pressured to make the best grades. Physically, you’re expected to prevent a certain “freshman 15”. Something that is not discussed widely enough are the feelings of inadequacy that many college students begin to feel once they arrive on campus. 

Coming to a college campus can be intimidating, recognizing that there are so many different people who seem to have accomplished and explored so much more than you have. Experiencing imposter syndrome can be difficult, but there are ways to overcome the falsities that your mind conjures up, and quickly begin to enjoy your new college life!


  1. Recognize your value: Admission officers don’t just choose random students to attend their university. There are countless hours that go into the admissions process, and after multiple admissions officers and a very large stack of applications, you were chosen! Despite what others have done, there are qualities and values that you bring to the campus that no one else does. You were meant to be chosen, and you are meant to be amongst the crowd of extremely intelligent and impactful individuals that you are.
  2. Understand you’re not alone: Being unsure of your success and skills is not something that you’re going through alone. There have been a countless number of times that I have experienced imposter syndrome, and at times when I feel the most down, I find it helpful to talk to my peers and classmates. More often than not, there is at least one other person who feels the same way, and finding someone to express your feelings to is a healthy way to both get and provide support.
  3. Reach out for help: There are places and people that you can go to if you cannot shake this feeling. If you’re on campus at UChicago, academic advisors and the Student Wellness Center are great resources to work through some of these feelings. Having a quick chat with your academic advisors about how you place among the other students is a great way to get some reassurance on your admission and abilities. If you need more than a conversation, the Wellness Center would be a great resource to utilize. Additionally, finding someone to talk to like a supportive family member, close friend, advisor, or even a college therapist could greatly impact your negative feelings.


Imposter syndrome is not uncommon. It’s normal to get this feeling sometimes, but it’s also important to escape from this feeling with confidence in yourself, your abilities, and your worth to your college, those around you, and yourself! You’ve got this!

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