Imposter Syndrome After Graduation

As of May 7, 2022, I am a master of publishing and writing from Emerson College. I miss it already, but at the same time, I am ready for the next chapter of my life. The whole world is wide open and I love it. But I’m not going to lie when I say I had a prolonged moment of imposter syndrome for the last week. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything I’ve ever gotten to this point in my life. But why would that statement be true? I felt like Elle Woods when she first started law school at Harvard. The truth is, no one EVER told me I was “not smart enough for my masters degree.” Even I know that’s total B.S. even if someone were to actually say that to me.

Immediately after I got home, ate McDonald’s (yes, I can still eat that, as a diabetic), I started looking at PhD programs… as if I have any idea of what I want to be a “doctor” or “philosopher” in. Right now, as I write this, I enjoy being a philosopher of life and writing. I remember the words of the keynote speaker, Kim McLarin, “you are now masters and teachers of your field.” As I was nearly passing out of starvation central, that didn’t stop me from wondering, “my therapist was right; it was hard to complete this masters degree, but I did it.”

Then later on Sunday night, I got to thinking about all the trials and tribulations I went through in the last year alone. I had an unfortunate COVID breakthrough in October, moved to the city (which was hell on its own), and the following semester? You guessed it. Diabetes. All of these events made me feel like I didn’t deserve my masters. My therapist asked me today, “what sacrifices did you make for your masters?” And I said, “I don’t feel like I made any.” The only other thing I could say was “time.”

It’s true, I didn’t feel like I made any actual sacrifices. All I know is that I felt like I didn’t deserve a moment like I did when I crossed the stage to have my hood put on, close my eyes, and bask in the spotlight when my name was called. I felt like I deserved none of it, which is upsetting to me. I can’t help but wonder, is it a lack of validation? Or is it what I think people think of me? Do people think that getting my masters was a waste? Or do I think it was a waste? Personally, I think not. I’m almost 26 years old. I was 23 when I committed to Emerson. I was 24 when I started with unfortunate technical difficulties. And now, it’s just a matter of “what are you doing, April?”

Imposter Syndrome can stem from many forms, such as lack of empathy from people, anxiety, and trauma. A million people can have faith in you, but you have to have faith in yourself. You deserve a day in the sun. Life is not going to be “sunshine and rainbows” all the time, but life doesn’t have to suck. After all, your thoughts create your reality.

And by all means, if someone thinks you “can’t do it,” do it twice, maybe even a third, and take pictures.

Stop Looking For Validation From Others | Evil is in the Ego

For the past week, I’ve found myself saying out loud, “can’t anyone give me enough credit for ______?” Whether that be job hunting, seeking help, and showing up even when others expect you to quit.

My therapist gave me a handout. And that handout was a story called “The Awakening,” author unknown. I’ve read a lot of stories about ostensible “awakenings.” But this one made me want to watch “A Cinderella Story” for about the hundredth time because it reminded me so much of it. Moments prior to this, I was crying because someone told me “can’t you do something that will make people happy?” And this person tried to trick me into saying they didn’t say this. This had me screaming into my pillows on my couch, and you people would have thought I was nuts. That’s the one “question” I knew I was going to get one day, even though I always do my best, despite my anxiety, depression, and PTSD. THOSE AREN’T LIMITATIONS, EITHER. 

What I am learning right at this very moment is that there are people who want you to fail. There are people who want the worst for you. There are people who are going to be jealous of you. There will be people who disapprove of what you do. There will be people who have opinions based on their own insecurities. It’s a rude awakening, indeed. But the fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t matter to you, even the better of us who know better. As the internet philosopher Katy Bellotte says, “Nothing hurts unless you let it–” that was one of the first things I heard her say when I first started watching her videos.

Oddly enough, what I said after said person said that unbelievable comment was, “I knew I would never get your approval.” As if I ever really needed it. That goes to show, careful what you say, or it will end up in a blog post, or worse, my memoir. C’mon, there’s even a sticker on my laptop that says that, so you should know by now. I’m not being vindictive, it’s called having self-respect — enough to stand up for yourself and do things for yourself. I once apologized to someone after saying, “I have way too much respect for myself as a woman and a human being to be led on…” Why did I do that? Was it human nature in me to be empathetic? Maybe it was the need for approval after hurting someone? What the hell am I even saying right now? I didn’t validation from someone who led me on! However, and this the human nature part, evil really is in the ego and could make you think you did something wrong when you did, in fact, do something right.

What I’m essentially trying to say is that you can have a support group, but know your boundaries. There are some people who will cross some of those very fine lines. You may or may not have to let people in more. You may or may not have to say “f*** it.” As I said in my very first post, The Art of Communication, self-awareness is key. I learned all this by researching social media posts for RISC. Even social media wants you to be healthy! Who would’ve to think that? Speaking of social media, stop comparing yourself to other people.

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Selflessness

I’ve always wanted to take a psychology class, and I find myself wondering almost three times a week why I never took a class in high school. By now, everyone knows I want to be a lawyer with a concentration in family law. Well, I guess the family law part is new. But narrowing it down helps — a lot.

The last blog post I wrote, Certainly Not the Same I guess was more of a reflection, more so than Agape | I Have Changed. I do realize that “Agape” was the second blog post I ever made, and I was reminded of it specifically because I was looking through my “memories” on Facebook of the life-changing experience. As I binge-watch “Atypical” this morning before work, (a show I HIGHLY recommend you watch — it’ll open your eyes and help you relate to a few or more characters), I scroll through my Facebook feed and my Instagram to find this:

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People can fight me on this, but my initial reaction to seeing this was, “What about EMTs? Especially the one I read about in my Literary Philosophy two years ago who treated a white supremacist who spits blood on the EMT because he was African-American?” And it’s not just EMTs, people generally — and I don’t want to say “complain” that they never get anything in return — but it’s quite common.

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” — Maya Angelou

Again, not to be morbid, but Maya Angelou actually passed away on my 18th birthday. I’ve had people compare me to Maya Angelou because I indubitably write poetry — no surprise there! This show, “Atypical” reminds me of when I was 18. Sam Gardner cares about everybody, and even gives Paige Hardaway’s Valedictorian speech for her, even after all they have been through as an off-and-on-again twosome. In one episode in Season 2, he finds that he wants to go to art school. More specifically, he wants to draw marine life. If you know the show, he adores penguins.

Moreover, when you’re feeling underappreciated, don’t, even though the feeling may seem like a natural occurrence. Some people are just so wrapped up in their own selfishness that they forget to show the tiniest bit of empathy for someone else. Nowadays, I try more than my hardest to understand people and what may be going on in their heads. I am not a mind-reader, no one is unless you’re a possible psychic. Nonetheless, I’ve learned plenty over the years to not expect anything in return. Caring is such a strong thing to do, even when people think they can’t care about anything at all because of how they feel. I can tell you right now, that you are succeeding. And I just preached all that without a psych degree. unnamed (22)