“Imposter Syndrome is the belief, despite evidence to the contrary, that you are not good enough to be in you chosen field.” -Benjamin Miller
Imposter Syndrome and Engineering Students by Benjamin Miller was an article that was assigned for my Intro to Construction Engineering course. In the article, Benjamin Miller talks about the feelings of inferiority to other engineering students who were extremely passionate about their field of interest. As a result they were more knowledgeable than Miller was when he took his first engineering course and that resulted in feelings of self-doubt and confusion about whether or not the major was the correct choice. He continues to talk about how he dealt with these feelings and the changes that should be made in the engineering field for universities to prevent these feelings in students. I have posted the link to the article at the bottom of this post.
Have I had experiences with the Imposter Syndrome? Yes, I have. My understanding of the Imposter Syndrome after reading the article was that it was a more specific term for an inferiority complex. Miller explained that he started to form these feelings when he first went to college. For me, it was a bit earlier. I had already formed feelings of inferiority (to practically every subject offered) in high school due to the competitiveness of the community. I’m 100% sure I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Being surrounded by students that take the SAT and ACT and come out of it with near perfect scores is discouraging if the best you could do was average or lower.
I came to the Colorado School of Mines with feelings of insecurity and assumptions that college will most likely be a similar experience. However, after completing three and a half years here, I can say with confidence that attending this school and choosing the civil engineering major was the best choice I could have made. I am surrounded by amazing faculty and peers that are supportive of me and competitive enough that it’s healthy and not detrimental. Yes, my peers do make me feel bad about my grades on occasion, but I stopped feeling bad about it. I tried my hardest, and I can still continue to review the content until I am satisfied with my own level of understanding after.
My experience is similar but different to Miller’s. I was able to resolve my feelings much earlier than he was so I can say I had a head start, which is great! Feeling inferior is depressing. I don’t think I had a good experience in high school because of it. But when I gave up these feelings, I realized that if I work hard and strive for a goal in mind, life tends to work out.