Perpetually Under Construction

Impostor Syndrome: Am I Qualified?


Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

I really shouldn’t feel impostor syndrome. There are many things I can list that point to my accomplishments, yet, I still fall victim to impostor syndrome. It’s a phenomenon that is constantly talked about and written about. There was an article in the New York Times back in 2015, and a blog post by Mike Zamansky, a former computer science teacher at my high school, and Distinguished Lecturer at my alma mater.

“High-achieving individuals” strive to better themselves by surrounding themselves with people who are better than they are. We all have our idols and heroes. By following them, and listening to their mistakes and journeys, we slowly improve ourselves.

Last year, I was listening to the [Partially Derivative Podcast]. At the end of their June 09, 2016 episode (S2E12), “Descartes Before the Horse”, Chris Albon talks about the friendship paradox. The general gist of it goes something along the lines of: people tend to observe and be in contact with people with more friends than they do. This idea can be extrapolated to essentially say, we observe people doing things that are better than ourselves. This perpetuates imposer syndrome and can explain why we always feel inferior to other people; we see people doing things that they are good at and we are not.