“I Don’t Belong Here” Syndrome

Diagnosis: “I Don’t Belong Here” Syndrome

Symptoms: Feelings of low self-esteem and confidence, worthlessness, anxiety, stress, depression, doubt. Wondering if one really has what it takes to be a UBC student.

Unfortunately, it is all too common this time of year for students to develop “I Don’t Belong Here” Syndrome.  With finals looming, you look at your midterm marks which maybe as high as you were hoping, and if you’re in first year, probably not as high as your high school marks, and you wonder if you’re really smart enough to be at UBC.  Your previous marks disappointed you, and your brain is tired now and you wonder if you can muster the strength to finish that final 100 metre stretch of the race.

It happens to me too.  Since I can’t practice much because of my hands, the pieces I’m working on aren’t in the kind of shape I’d like them to be in, and all of my peers seem to be miles ahead of me. In my harp quartet jury (like a test-performance which you get graded on), I didn’t perform nearly as well as I wanted to, and I started getting in a funk.  Throughout the year, I feel less than confident about my abilities, and although my teacher frequently tells me that I’m doing well and that I’m talented, I can’t help but feel like I’m just not good enough.

But the truth is, I’m doing fine. I’m just psyching myself out. And if the above symptoms sound like you, that’s what you’re doing too.  If I was no good at harp, I wouldn’t have been admitted.  Everyone who gets into UBC is smart.  So if you were smart enough to get in, you’re smart enough to stay in.

Your courses are designed to be challenging and push you to your limits.  If you feel like you need help, that’s nothing to be ashamed of; that’s why UBC has tons of academic resources for you to take advantage of.

You do belong here! Try not to get discouraged. UBC chose you, after all, and they weren’t wrong about i!



Filed under Academics, Wellness

4 Responses to “I Don’t Belong Here” Syndrome

  1. Aida

    Love your ” Who is Samantha?” bit on the left!

  2. Josella Tan

    Aww this is great! I genuinely thought that I was the only one feeling this way and I wasn’t sure if I was just too hard on myself or if my marks were just really bad. Thanks for this post! :)

  3. Matt

    This sure makes me feel better after thinking I bombed my first final yesterday. But I guess there’s no point in dwelling but to keep working hard on the next ones! Thanks!

  4. Raye

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I am not actually a UBC student. I am a 3rd year University of Saskatchewan student, but I get this feeling at least once a year, questioning and doubting myself. It’s so good to know that I am not the only one! And this inspiration couldn’t have come at a better time since I just started my internship and feel like I am supposed to know way more than I do and don’t belong in this professional setting. It’s just so great to hear someone else reassuring myself and others with these feelings! Thanks again!

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