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Student Blog: Mackenzie's Guide to Fighting Imposter Syndrome

Student Blog: Mackenzie's Guide to Fighting Imposter Syndrome

Don't let fear win!

I want to talk about a little thing called imposter syndrome... yikes. I know that I am not alone in saying that imposter syndrome is oftentimes a daily battle of mine. It's something that most people will struggle with at some point, but I especially feel it as an artist. As a matter of fact, I'm struggling to think of a single person in the arts that I know who hasn't had some imposter-like intrusive thoughts at one time or another.

Firstly, that's exactly what they are, right? Intrusive thoughts? Fears? Anxieties? Not truthful or helpful. I repeat, not truthful or helpful! It's normal to have these feelings, but the trick to overcoming them is to not let them win. DO NOT stop yourself from feeling and exploring these feelings, that's not what I'm saying here. However, it is even more important that you DO NOT allow these feelings to win or consume you. The second you let the imposter syndrome win, it's a long and tough battle to pull yourself back out of it. Trust me.

I experienced extreme imposter syndrome in undergrad, and I am yet again facing it in grad school. It never goes away. However, this time? I'm not letting it win. Being real with y'all- I went into this program as an American with a background in Acting. The majority of the students in my cohort have degrees in English and are from here. Going in on day one, I was intimidated, to say the least.

Let me walk you through my internal monologue that day: "Who am I to be here? I'm just an actor who runs a Shakespeare TikTok. I'm not an academic or a scholar..." you get the gist. Those were/are real thoughts that I have on the daily- and I know it's not productive or healthy. BUT someone said something on the first day that I really needed to hear. A second year student addressed the first years and said: "you all need to get over your imposter syndrome ASAP. We all feel it and we're all miserable because of it, and as soon as you realize that EVERYONE else has the same anxieties as you, you will be so much happier!" It seems obvious in theory, right? Those words really stuck with me, and I remind myself of them daily now.

Over the years, I've come to terms with the fact that it's really hard for me (or anyone, honestly) to be productive if I don't think I'm good enough. If you want to learn and grow, learning to stop holding yourself back is the first step. I think the way that you approach that is acknowledging that the imposter syndrome is merely fear. No matter what you do, you can't let that fear hold you back. You are where you are today because you have worked your butt off to get there, and somebody along the way saw something in you. Don't ever second guess that. Don't let the fear win. I'm going to conclude with a quote from the queen herself, Sierra Boggess: "You are enough. You are so enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are."

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Born in Clearwater, FL, Mackenzie recently graduated from Baylor University with her BFA in Theatre Performance, Concentration in Musical Theatre, and a Minor in History. 

She is current... (read more about this author)

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