The imposter syndrome is a psychological term which refers to a pattern of behaviour whereby we doubt our achievements and we mentally convince ourselves that we do not deserve those accomplishments or everything else that followed that.
This term was coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978 and its indeed something that is relevant to everyone of all ages in all sorts of careers.
Students are often bothered by this mentality and many are unaware that this is natural feeling. The imposter syndrome is one that stems from a possible lack of confidence for some, it may be due to a sudden transition in learning environment, it may be due to a culmination of different situations that have all been a reminder that there are more intelligent and hardworking individuals around us. The reason maybe either or, or it could be a combination of a few.
So, how can students overcome this?
WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME BOAT
The most vulnerable group of students are those who are ready to give their national examinations, i.e.. A level and O level examinations. A level tuition teachers and O level tuition teachers a met with the challenge of having to convince their students that they can do well in their examinations and that every achievement they have gotten so far are truly deserving.
In a one-to-one tuition setting, the concerns of students are so much more obvious and home tutors are the ones who can truly empathise with their students’ sentiments. The most important thing that students have to understand is that everyone feels inadequate at some point in time and its normal.
Everyone goes through it and is hence essential to accept this discomfort and persevere without self-doubt.
CONFRONT IT HEAD-ON
Running away from what we fear is never going to enable us to grow as a human being. Like the famous American poet Robert Frost once said, “The best way out is always through”.
It is undeniable that the most courageous and outstanding students are those who confront their challenges head-on without turning their backs on them. They take ownership for their mistakes, they are brave enough to utter the words, “I don’t understand this/ I don’t know this, please teach me”, and they are also those who maintain self-discipline.
When students face their challenges and conquer them, that will give them to confidence to move forward with their endeavours and self-doubt will bother them to a lesser extent over time.
TRUST THE PROCESS
Students are often impatient in their learning journey and are easily disappointed when they don’t seem to get all the answers. Answers don’t appear spontaneously; sometimes it may take a day, some a month, and some concepts may only dawn on us several years later.
Your learning capacity is one that cannot be measured and understood objectively. We can never gauge accurately as to how well we have done on a test and we can never be sure of concept the instant we learn it; it’s just how it is.
Trusting the process and letting things unfold itself will be a great way for students to accept their shortcomings and also be motivated enough to take up opportunities when they present themselves!