Do you struggle with low self-esteem and imposter syndrome in college? College is tough as you’re surrounded by high-performing students that make you feel insecure. Check out these tips to overcome low self-esteem!
More than half (52.5%) of college students have low self-esteem.
Having low self-esteem can hurt your college experience. You might feel jealousy towards other students for securing great internships or knowing all the answers to challenging exams.
Do you constantly compare yourself to them and feel like you’re behind in college?
Challenging your toxic mindset is key to taking control of your college experiences. If you don’t change your mindset, you can regret your college experience.
How to overcome low self-esteem:
1. Find your community that helps you grow
The first thing most college students look for after finding how to navigate academics is how to find the right community where they belong. When you find a supportive community, they lift you up and make you feel better about yourself.
Look for a group of people that inspire you to find the best aspects about yourself. They encourage you and guide you through your struggles.
So that when you face challenges, you know who to call.
2. Enroll in a class that enhances one of your top strengths
Most people focus too much on their weaknesses. Try to focus more on your strengths. When I was in college, I constantly focused too much on my weaknesses that when it came to internships, I didn’t even apply to most of them.
If you only pay attention to your weaknesses, it’s going to hold you back from fully achieving what you want to do. Get confident about your strengths and your insecurities about your weaknesses will decrease.
3. Develop a growth mindset
The first thing my teacher told me during my first semester of college that helped me to be so successful was to develop a growth mindset. It’s the mindset that you can improve if you keep practicing over time.
A lot of college students get stuck in their classes when they hear other students saying the most intelligent answers to the professor’s questions. Do you often ask yourself, “What am I doing in this class? I can’t even keep up.”
This is the exact mindset that will keep you back. Show up every day, take great notes, tell yourself you CAN do this, improve your study habits and go get help from tutors and the professor.
The students that are the most successful are the ones that have a growth mindset and not a fixed one. A fixed mindset is believing that the skills that you have now can no longer improve.
You can improve them! Even CEOs don’t know everything, but they are constantly studying.
4. Go see a therapist and attend wellness workshops every semester
College is HARD. There will be times that you feel an extreme amount of stress. If there’s one thing a lot of students regret, it’s that they didn’t utilize the services that their tuition pays for.
There are so many available services that you have. A lot of student clubs and campus departments host free wellness events and workshops to help you manage your stress and give away free items.
Also, make an appointment with a campus therapist or counselor for anything you are struggling with or feeling insecure about. They deal with so many students like you and can help you navigate it.
5. Stop identifying yourself with your grades
Sure, you hear some students that have all A’s and achieving so much in school. If you get a B or C, it’s not the end of the world. There is so much pressure to be the perfect student in school.
Don’t stress over being a straight-A student. You are not a failure if you get a lower grade.
Work with your professors, academic counselor, and tutor to create a plan. If you get academic probation, you CAN bounce back. It’s not too late.
6. Take a Public Speaking Class
This course is a must if you want to improve your confidence when it comes to public speaking in the rest of your college courses and future jobs. It might make you uncomfortable and nervous in the beginning, but over time with hard work, you will improve.
You will learn the art of presentation which is an important skill to have. They teach you how to stay calm when everyone is staring at you and how to change your mindset that everyone is judging you.
7. Join a student club that gives back to those in need
You’ll feel better about yourself when you’re helping people that are struggling. Seeing those smiles and people thanking you is the best feeling.
Volunteering during college is so worth it and you will see how much impact you have on people’s lives by helping them with your skills or time.
8. Take a break from school if you need to
If you have depression or feel extremely burnt out and tired of school, you most likely can take a semester off from school to work on your mental health. Many students just keep trying to push through and end up dropping out completely because they just can’t do it.
Don’t push yourself beyond what you can handle. If you need to take a semester off from school, discuss this with your counselor. You can sign up to volunteer, take an internship, or just rest to get your mind off the stress of school.
9. Create short-term and long-term goals for your entire time at college
If you have goals and know exactly what you are going to do to get there, it will help you to see the purpose in your time at college. So that you’re not just wasting time and asking yourself what are you doing here.
Where do you see yourself this semester and where do you see yourself in your senior year?
10. Congratulate yourself on your small and big achievements
Too often people are always comparing themselves to others. Your friend might have secured an internship at a top company, yet you’re struggling to even get a company to give you an interview opportunity.
Your friend starts posting all over LinkedIn all of their cool work experiences while you lack work experience. One thing you have to learn is how to stop comparing yourself to other people and start focusing on your own life.
You have achievements already, even smaller ones. You got accepted into college for one and that already shows they saw potential in you!
Take a look at the other achievements in your life and post them somewhere in your room to remind yourself just how awesome you are.
11. Spend more time in nature and off campus
If you’re starting to feel imposter syndrome or the pressure to be perfect in college, it’s time to distance yourself. Where on campus do you feel most at peace?
Also, find locations off of campus that you can escape to so you can disconnect from the hustle mindset and remember you have an identity outside of college.
If I could go back to college, I would have changed my toxic mindset that I wasn’t good enough for the school that I was at. It’s not until years after college that I realized I did have the potential to be successful.
I was just holding myself back and didn’t seek out enough support to help me along my journey. I just stayed stuck in pity mode.
To overcome low self-esteem, you have to focus on your own success instead of the successes of others. But also create your identity outside of college. There’s more to being a part of the world than getting good grades or a great job.