Student Perspective- Imposter Syndrome

Peer Career Advisor Aleeza shares her experience with Imposter Syndrome and applying to internships. Take a look!

There is no doubt about it, internship applications can be very scary. Looking at job descriptions and qualifications can be overwhelming, and as college students who might be applying for their first job in their field, it is hard to tell if we are actually qualified. We are always told, “APPLY, APPLY, APPLY” but how can I apply to a real-life adult job in the field I want a career in when I have only taken a few classes in the subject?

In college, many students experience some form of Imposter Syndrome. Often, it occurs at the beginning of college. Students worry that they are not really supposed to get into college and that someone will realize they are not cut out for it. Other times, and for me, it occurred during internship applications. I sat at my desk staring at applications and thought, “I am not qualified for anything,” I scrolled Handshake for hours and decided I would never get any of these jobs or internships because why would anyone hire me? A few days later I decided to apply to some really big-name companies, places I was sure I would never even get an interview for, I figured that I might as well get some rejection out of the way, so I was prepared when something I want rejects me. After that, I was on a roll.

Once the first application was submitted, I continued applying, some to big companies and some to smaller companies, anything that had an internship that I was interested in. I was still very sure that they would all reject me but at least I had applied. A few weeks later I started getting rejections, this did not surprise me because again, I thought I would never be qualified for an internship. And then, one day I got an interview for one of the internships, and then another one. I was excited and nervous about the interview, but I was sure once they spoke to me, they would realize that I am a fraud.

After my first interview, I could not decide if it went well or not. I thought the vibes were good but, I still was not sure why they would want to hire me. Eventually, I did get that internship and I was ecstatic, I was genuinely surprised when they called to tell me I got the internship. The Imposter Syndrome was still there but as time went on, it lessened.

What I want to tell everyone is still, “APPLY, APPLY, APPLY,” but also, believe in yourself. I am still a little in awe that I have an internship, but I am glad I overcame my fear and applied. Don’t worry about not getting the job or internship because you will get rejected from some places, everyone does, but eventually, the right place will accept you. The Imposter Syndrome might feel overwhelming but you are not alone, so apply!

By Sarah Gelfand
Sarah Gelfand Assistant Director of Career Education