Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
So, over the last while I've started to pinpoint some aspects of my thought process towards my work and how I view my goals and achievements. I've always had this attitude of fobbing off my achievements as not being a big deal or even being a mistake. I often push myself to be a perfectionist in things I do. Sometimes to the point where I set myself a goal that I can't actually achieve within the constraints I've set. I'll push myself harder than I have to just because I feel I can't keep up if I don't.
Turns out, a lot of this is a sign of Imposter Syndrome. Now, I'm not big on the whole self diagnosis thing. I believe doing that is unhealthy and can cause more problems. So, I'm not going to claim I actually have imposter syndrome but, rather I'm going to look at back at last year and how I put myself through a level of unnecessary stress that I think a lot of us do.
During my first year of college, I started fairly nervous as anyone would on their first day. The thing is, I was going back to college as a mature student in his late twenties. Right off the bat, I felt I was competing with the younger students. There was this feeling that I didn't belong. That I was too old to be there. I also felt that being a mature student that there was an expectation that I should already know most of this stuff. When it came to exams and projects, I put myself under a lot of pressure to do well. It wasn't about wanting to do better than anyone else but more so a sense of if I don't do really well, people will think I don't belong in the course.
I remember I got a 99% in an exam last year. Most people would be pretty damned thrilled with a 99% but I was actually really annoyed with myself. It was such an illogical reaction. It's very rare for anyone to get a 100% in any exam. So, to be so close should have made me very happy but all I saw was that 1% I failed to get. Here's the thing, I actually got 100% on two exams and scored in the high 80s and 90s for the others. The ones I did get 100% in I actually thought there must be a mistake and there was a period of time where I waited for an email to inform me my grade has been adjusted based on an error. Such an email never came.
I finished the year with first class honours and even now starting into my second year, there's that niggling feeling of you're not good enough and you're not cut out for this. And this is despite the fact I'm doing really well. So, while this is not something I can just switch off, I have been trying some things that help. When ever I start to feel insecure about not knowing everything about a topic that I've never encountered before, I remember that that's actually how everyone else in the room is feeling right now. Whenever I feel anxious about a project and people are asking me questions about a lab or assignment, I remember that they're also feeling anxious about labs and projects. Hey, we're all in this together.
The most important thing I'm doing that helps is that every now and then, I'll allow myself to feel like I belong there. Even if it's just for a few minutes, I try to remind myself that I got this far because of my own efforts. The efforts that were in fact more than good enough to get me here. I remind myself that my achievements to date in games and even this blog are a result of hard work I put in and not because of some mistake or fluke. I don't know if I have imposter syndrome and I don't think it matters. What matters is I've got this far not because of some mistake but because I put in the effort. So, remember to take a step back and allow yourself to feel like you belong because you do.
Until next time!