Imposter Syndrome… Is That You?
March 31, 2022
As a part of my PP-OTD journey, my residency is a year long. In the grand scheme of things that isn’t a long time, but when you’re in the middle of it, you start to feel the time moving by. You have time to think about the past, where you are, and most terrifyingly….the future. As I’ve started thinking about my future, for the first time in a long time, there is so much uncertainty. In undergrad I knew, OT school was next. In the MA program, I knew my OTD was next. But now that I’m entering the last 6 months of residency, the next chapter has yet to be written and I’m definitely feeling the pressure.
If I could put words to what I’m experiencing, the definition of imposter syndrome would sum it all up quite nicely. For me, imposter syndrome manifests as the feeling that everyone around me can sense that I’m “faking it until I make it” and is judging me….big time. Honestly, this is a new experience for me and it’s been causing a lot of unneeded worry.
For most of my academic career, I was blessed enough to avoid seriously feeling the effects of imposter syndrome. As a student in undergrad or in the MA program, we were all in it together *insert High School Musical here* and it felt like everyone else was just as confused and doing equally as much soul searching as I was. But now, in residency, where I’m working with more experienced practitioners and with other students who have different strengths than me…those thoughts are starting to creep in. And as a result, I found that when I make mistakes, as any human does, I start feeling super down on myself and questioning my ability to be a good OT.
After taking some time to sit with my feelings and coming to realize what has been going on, I found that reframing my thoughts and experiences helped sooooo much. Taking the time to validate the work that I’m putting in, acknowledging the growth that I’ve experienced over the past six months, and reassuring myself that I am doing my best and that’s what matters.
Coincidentally, in the midst of feeling all of the feels, I got a text message from one of the senior physical therapists at my residency site to meet up and eat lunch with her and the other OT/PT/PTA students of color! We sat and talked about our unique experiences and it really helped me feel heard, and reassured me that: 1) I was not the only person to ever feel like this, and 2) that by no means do these feelings last forever. You can say that I found my little communOT/PT 😊 This came at the seemingly perfect time; more than anything it was a reminder that that this too, shall pass.