College, Imposters, and TedTalks

Saying that college is stressful is like saying that water is wet . It’s something that everybody expects going in, but it always surpasses everybody’s expectations. It’s like that one jump scare that you know is coming, but it still scares you anyway. There are also some aspects of college that you don’t expect to deal with. For a lot of people, including myself, that can come in the form of impostor syndrome.  To simplify it, it’s the feeling that you’re not good enough to be in a certain field or you’re not as smart as you fellow peers no matter how well you do in said subject. You constantly fear being called out as a “fraud” in your field.

 In all seriousness, impostor syndrome is something that affects a lot of people. According to a survey done by Codecademy females feel 2.5x more anxious learning coding in a traditional academic setting than their male counterparts. Why is that? If I were to make an educated guess, I would say they probably feel like an impostor in their field. They might feel like if they don’t understand material as fast as their male classmates, then they aren’t fit for this field. I can support this theory from experience.
When I was learning C++ in my programming class, I always felt like I was behind my fellow classmates. Even though I was getting better at coding and had an ‘A’ in the class, it didn’t matter to me. All I could think about was that everybody knew what was going on and I didn’t. It was like having a neon sign over my head that said, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” I’m not going to lie. Sometimes it made we wonder if I was cut out for this field.

If you’re reading this blog, then you know I continued in the field. I was able to overcome my feelings of being a “fraud”, but I didn’t do it on my own. I used the power of the internet, because the internet is an introvert’s friend. I started looking up motivational talks and usually that takes me to TedTalks, because TedTalks was surprisingly motivational and interesting. You could watch a TedTalk about raccoons and suddenly want to adopt one as a pet. Or is that just me? Anyways, here are a couple of TedTalks and other videos that inspired me.

You may also know this video by it’s alternate name of Wonder woman stance talk. That’s what I looked up the first time. Cuddy talks about her experience dealing with impostor syndrome during college, how it affected her life, and she overcame it using ‘Power Poses’. I know it sounds weird, but trust me it actually works.

If this name sounds familiar to you, it’s because Sterling is the inventor of the wildly successful toy called Goldie Blox. It’s a toy targeted towards girls, to help them develop problem solving skills and get them interested in engineering at an early. In her talk, she recalls her frustrations as an undergrad to her struggles of getting her product to be taken seriously.

This is a talk that I just find motivational in general. It’s actually one of my favorites, because it’s a beating the odds story. This one is actually pretty famous, but still not a lot of people have heard about it, which is a shame. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but just to give you a hint it involves, football, tragedy, and a whole lot of determination.

This talk is so powerful, because it is relatable. Olympia LePoint doesn’t sugarcoat her stumbles. She comes right out and says that she failed many of her math classes in college and yet she still succeeded.  She is still a rocket scientist. The concept of failing and getting back up is something that everybody wants to do, but not everybody does. Some people just stay down while others jump back up. LePoint explains why that is in a conversational way.


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