Personal Column: Carnegie Imposter


Photo Curtesy of SkyPics Studio (shutterstock)

Putting a smile on to deceive the public is apart of having imposter syndrome. photo courtesy of Somerville – University of Oxford student story, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome occurs when one feels they do not belong in the environment they are in. A person who pretends to be someone else to deceive others. A person who, in order to fit in, changes everything about themselves to be liked and accepted by others. I want to fit in. I want to be like other people. I want to be accepted. I am an imposter. 

As a Carnegie student, you’re expected to be ambitious, over-achieving, hard-working, intelligent, studious, and so much more. At a school that is recognized nationally, it’s really easy to be stressed by all the pressure that is imposed on you from the first day you walk into school.

I was convinced I needed to get the best grades, be the best student, the nicest person, and own the nicest clothing. Ever since I started head start, I wasn’t given the opportunity to go to amazing schools with the best education. To go with that, I also was not surrounded by the greatest people. A lot of the kids now turn to drugs and violence, and it’s really hard to relate to them because we have nothing in common. That caused a lot of problems for me when I started high school. To completely adjust from no homework to pages upon pages of textbook reading and math packets I had no idea how to do, was difficult

During elementary school, I was considered one of the smarter kids. I was overachieving and hardworking, I had everything set out for me. My plan was for me to graduate high school early, start college, be a first-generation college graduate, and be the first Dr. in my family, but, once I got to high school, I realized that I am a small fish swimming in a pond filled with piranhas. 

I would come home every day, sit down at my desk, and work from the moment I got home until I couldn’t focus anymore, which sometimes would be up to 10 hours. I have spent almost my entire home life at my desk since the year started. But I want to be like everyone else. I want to be like the smart kids at school who walk around doing whatever they want. I want to be able to have friends and go out every day to super fun places. I want to be like everyone else.

Before starting high school, I tried to find people with similar interests, in hopes of trying to make friends. But I only ended up making foes. In order to try to fit in with them, I tried to be like them, have the same style, and have the same interests. I even bought a bunch of new clothes and 2 skateboards to try to be like them. Yet, I could never find peace within myself to fit in.

Starting my sophomore year, I knew I wouldn’t have anyone. I was a loner, I didn’t really have people to talk to or hang out with. That was the opposite of what I wanted in high school. I was hurting. I felt so cast out by the people around me that I eventually just gave up. I did make friends here and there and talk to people during class, but I never had a designated friend group like the other cliques in school. 

I also started becoming conscious about myself, my body, and my appearance. I would see all of these taller and skinnier girls dressing however they wanted to school, and I wished I could do that. I would try finding clothes to make me look taller. I searched up “ways to grow 3 inches in a week.” It felt impossible for me to feel like I fit in. 

Going to school every day, I slowly started to realize how smart everyone is. Eventually, I started to fall behind because I was unable to keep up with the fast pace Carnegie had. 

During my classes, there are always students who talk, laugh, and goof off while the rest try to learn. They excel in the material. While I pay attention to anything and everything I’m given and I still barely manage to pass the class.

I grew to accept the fact that I could never be like them. I would always be the odd one out of these outstanding students. 

I would tell my friends how I feel about being and feeling left out, and their responses would be, “but you’re a typical Carnegie student,” or “Why are you so worried about school, you’re really smart, how are you even struggling.” Just shut up already. I can’t spend a single day not worrying if I’m going to pass this cycle or not. If I’m going to ever pass the grade or not. If I’m ever going to be accepted. 

I’m transferring schools soon. I haven’t even gotten there and I’m already worried if I’ll have any friends. If I’ll be any good transferring. If I’ll be able to keep up with the rigorous schedule they have, including doing sports that I really enjoy. I feel like I’m never going to reach my goal of being one of the people. I’m never going to fit in. I’m never going to be able to be the person that everyone wants me and expects me to be. 

But, I have to remind myself that I have to keep a smile on my face. I have to keep my head up high so no one can see through my drained eyes and tired body. I have to keep myself clean so no one realizes that I’ve given up. I’ve been able to trick everyone into thinking that I am a Carnegie student. That I am capable of keeping up with my classes. That I am responsible. That I have outstanding grades. That I can be, like everyone else. Even if I feel like an imposter.