3 Tips on How to Cope with Imposter Syndrome

By: Anne Hwang ‘23


What is Imposter Syndrome 

There’s an imposter among us! As we work our way through finals, and approach summer internships or programs, you might find yourself doubting yourself. What if I’m not smart enough? What if I’m not right for the internship? You get the point— the list goes on. Yet what you probably neglect while you embark on a rabbit hole of what if’s, is that many of your fellow students probably share the same concerns as you. And what’s even more surprising is that oftentimes, these thoughts that undermine your capabilities and intelligence are probably not true. In fact, you’re more likely to be facing Imposter Syndrome than reality in these situations.


So what is Imposter Syndrome? Well, according to Verywellmind.com, Imposter Syndrome is an internal experience where an individual believes they are not as smart or capable as others may perceive them to be. In other words, Imposter Syndrome is when you feel like you aren’t as good enough and you’re an “imposter” or “phony” amongst others who are actually qualified and capable. Frequently, an individual who may have Imposter Syndrome will tend to be very harsh on their own performance, and often overlook successes they’ve accomplished by undermining them with failures or shortcomings along the way. Other forms in which an individual might experience Imposter Syndrome are in social situations where an individual may have social anxiety. Ultimately, Imposter Syndrome can encompass a wide range of symptoms, and if you’re interested in learning more about it, check out this article or speak to a healthcare professional! 


How to Cope

As college students, many of us are prone to encountering Imposter Syndrome at some point. Here are some tips that may help you cope with Imposter Syndrome: 


Acknowledge your feelings

One of the most important steps to overcoming Imposter Syndrome is acknowledging the way you feel. By recognizing the way you feel, you can then start to see what causes you to feel this way and also speak with others about your concerns so that they may be able to help you with the situation you are in.


Differentiate between facts and feelings

Individuals who have Imposter Syndrome often feel a certain way that may not actually be based on facts. By figuring out what is factual and what is emotional, this may help you to recognize that your success or accomplishments are truthful and not based on pure luck. 


Create a healthy cycle for dealing with both success and failures

By developing a way of handling the accomplishments and failures, you can provide yourself with a more solid foundation of how to react. This can help provide you with a structure so that instead of defaulting to feeling like an imposter, you recognize moments when you succeed and ways to react when you don’t.

Lastly, if you find yourself still struggling with coping, never hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional. Here at Macaulay, we offer free mental health and counseling services. If you feel that you may be experiencing Imposter Syndrome, reach out to the Macaulay Mental Health and Wellness Center!


Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.