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Imposter Syndrome

juanmapmjuanmapm Alum Member

Hi everyone,

Not really sure where to post this, but admissions seemed like the most appropriate spot. For those of you who have been admitted to law school or are currently attending school, how did you handle "imposter syndrome." I am currently in a year-long fellowship program with cohort members that are vastly more qualified, both in a professional and academic sense, than I am; navigating the dynamics of these relationships is both new and somewhat overwhelming. It seems like I always "have to be on," and am constantly trying to prove to myself that I deserve a seat at the table. I'm sure dynamics at law school, especially @ T14s, are similar and I was wondering how people dealt with feelings of subtle inferiority.


  • SLP_futureJDSLP_futureJD Alum Member
    464 karma

    Hi @juanmapm, First, I appreciate your honesty and want to let you know that you're definitely not alone in experiencing imposter syndrome. It seems as if everyone I've talked to, from people with or pursuing their PhD to people who are successful in their careers, deal with imposter syndrome at some point or another. I deal with it now in my current career and am constantly reassuring myself that I do, in fact, know what I'm doing or at least I have the tools to figure it out. The best ways I've found to deal with this are: 1. Talking with others about it and realizing that I'm not the only "imposter." 2. Writing down specific affirmations about why/how I am doing a good job. 3. Talking to a counselor (who recommended solution #2 to me). Hope this helps! Best of luck to you in your fellowship. You're not alone and do deserve to be there!

  • ATLsat_2019ATLsat_2019 Member
    455 karma

    I absolutely experienced impostor syndrome in grad school and I think @SLP_futureJD makes great points. Talking with others helps, especially those who you view as "vastly more successful"... I found that some of these people had the same sort of feelings as I did. And at the very least maybe some of them will have advice or guidance about how they became as successful as they are. Never forget that you earned a spot in the fellowship for a reason!

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma

    It never goes away. However one thing that has helped me come to terms with my imposter syndrome is recognizing that I’m just as smart as everyone else here and deserve to be here just as much as they do. You have to turn your apprehension into confidence. It’s definitely easier said than done. But imposter syndrome is nothing more than that: a lack of confidence. Just remember that you worked so hard to be where you are and you earned it just as much as everyone else. Sure there are going to be some absolutely brilliant people but there will also be people that are not as brilliant and recognizing that there is a balance has put me at ease.

  • samantha.ashley92samantha.ashley92 Alum Member
    edited July 2018 1777 karma

    Not a law student, but I've dealt with this in the rest of life-- especially at work. While working retail, I was promoted into management right before I turned 20. I was very young and inexperienced compared to most of the managers in my district. I had to keep reminding myself that 1) other people believed in me, which is why I got the promotion and 2) if I weren't qualified to be a manager, I wouldn't actually be a manager.

    That being said, you earned your spot. Someone believed in you based on your past achievements and the strongly-perceived likelihood of your success. In my experience, always "being on" has taken away from my ability to listen and learn. I was always out to prove that my age and inexperience didn't matter, and I wasn't paying enough attention to how other people succeeded. When I finally checked my bruised ego at the door, and just became willing to learn, I learned everyone else's tricks. I got better because everyone else wanted to prove their superiority and shared confidently about how they succeeded... and I just absorbed all of their techniques to implement into my own work life.

    Others are not superior, and neither are you. Experience varies, and that's ok. Everyone was inexperienced at some point, and I'm sure that they've all felt inferior at some point. (Well, maybe not psychopaths. There are a lot of them in the legal field.)

  • juanmapmjuanmapm Alum Member
    379 karma

    Everyone - thank you so much for your comments, advice, and honesty. I wish I would have reached out to this community earlier on during my fellowship, but I will dearly hold onto the pearls of wisdom you all offered. Thank you again.

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