The first piece of advice we were given at the start of medical school was this:
“Don’t fall behind, and don’t fall in love”.
The second was this:
“Every single one of you will experience imposter syndrome. It will not go away. You must learn to live with it.”
Imposter syndrome, if you Google it, is when high-achieving people fail to internalize their accomplishments, and live in constant fear of being exposed as a fraud.
I’m not good enough.
I’m not smart enough.
I’m not accomplished enough.
I don’t deserve to be here.
I got in to medical school by mistake.
One of these days, they’re going to figure out that I shouldn’t be here.
This sentiment has been incredible present in my life in medical school so far. Looking at the interview statistics, I did not have the grades to make the cut. I shouldn’t have been granted an interview. This weighs on me every single day – how did I end up here? And when will they figure out the mistake that they’ve made?
But let’s break it down – imposter syndrome is fundamentally about our egos. Why do we think that people are so concerned with our qualifications? Why are we so concerned with the idea that we might get ‘found out’ as being inadequate? We are inadequate. That’s the whole point! How beautiful a testament to God’s authority in our lives, that I, an undeserving, unqualified, inadequate mess of a person could be sent into the field of medicine to be His hands and feet! My own shortcomings are evidence of His glory and provision over my life.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
– 1 Corinthians 1: 26-29
This week, instead of trying to simply live with imposter syndrome, I’m going to lean in to it and rejoice in it. My story is one of a God who chose me, an unworthy and thoroughly unqualified girl to serve and heal, and of a God who paved the way for me.
What about you – do you struggle with imposter syndrome? How do you cope with it?
Have a wonderful week! -H