Dealing With Imposter Syndrome 

Have you ever had the unsettling feeling that everyone else is an expert at what they're doing while you're lost? A belief that you don't deserve to be where you are, rather everything that has led you up to this point has been a thread of meticulously woven luck that has now run its course? This emotion, which I now understand to be imposter syndrome as an adult, has been a major source of frustration and anxiety in recent years. I hope that readers struggling with similar experiences will know that they are not alone and will feel encouraged to reach out to others. 

I can recall experiencing imposter syndrome for the first time during my first year of university. I was the first member of my family to attend and with this admittedly came feelings of pride and even arrogance to some extent. However, this was accompanied by the reality that I had no idea what to expect and few people to whom I could turn for guidance or preparation.

In mathematics, these feelings appeared even more heightened; I regularly found myself doubting my ability after each setback. I consistently got the same response when I mentioned that I was studying mathematics: "Oh, you must be smart." Granted, this was meant as flattery, but it highlighted my very real insecurity about feeling like a fraud.

I began to worry obsessively about "natural talent," feeling perpetually behind my course mates, and fretting that I had struck an insurmountable mathematical wall. I felt detached from both who I thought I was and how other people saw me as a result of this. 

Four years later, I am beginning my career as a mathematics teacher while attending University College London, ranked first in the world for education according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject. I interact with many incredible student teachers who I know will go on to have very successful careers and naturally, I still experience feelings of self-doubt. Still, I am much better prepared to handle it now.

Over these years, I have discovered several helpful techniques for overcoming impostor syndrome, but it is important to emphasise that this blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a qualified mental health expert. If you require assistance, please reach out! 


Embrace Humility

I've come to understand that it takes a lot of courage to express oneself honestly and to admit when you do not know something. Acknowledge that failure is a part of life and that you are not an expert in everything. The best approach to learning is to seek help from others. Recognising those who know more than you is one of the hardest skills I have come to learn. 


Recognise Your Achievements

When you feel inferior, having a tangible reminder of your accomplishments can be helpful. My graduation certificate is displayed in my room, which gives me a sense of pride and serves as a daily reminder that I am capable and deserving of this opportunity. On days when everything appears to be going wrong, this can be very comforting. 


Appreciate The Journey

Often there will be experiences that I make me appreciate the career path I have taken, do not ignore these moments! This is what it is all about. If you can help one student understand fractions or get a class to become enthusiastic about quadratic equations, then you have directly made a positive impact on another person’s life. 



The isolation that imposter syndrome fosters is its most detrimental effect. When you feel like a fraud, it's common to try to hide your flaws and avoid situations where you can be "exposed." Creating a network of peers and mentors in whom you can confide and who might be able to connect to your circumstance is, in my opinion, the greatest method to deal with this. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to keep your perspective and see the value of your contributions! 


By Connor O'Hare


You can find Connor on LinkedIn 


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