Everyday I’m trying and that’s all we can ever do
How to deal with feelings of doubt
Lately, I’ve been undergoing the wonderful process of SAT preparation. I started back in May—even though my test date is not until March 2024—joining the rat race that all “overachieving-high-school-students-who-really-really-need-to-get-into-their-dream-college-or-they-will-die” participate in.
Okay, that might have been dramatic, but you understand my point. The thing is that my mom keeps telling me that my grade is doing too much to get me into college (i.e. not everyone needs to start a non-profit and win five national awards of some sort). But here’s my problem: I don’t think there is such a thing as “too much for college”. And that line of thinking is a direct result of my imposter syndrome, or my belief that everyone else is accomplishing more than me.
My wonderful SAT tutor tells me he’s not worried about my ability to answer the questions; he’s worried that I keep doubting myself and not “attacking the test.” I cannot fathom a world where I am confident in every test I take or anything I write. This is my downfall. I can do it; I really can. I just don’t believe in myself, so I start to doubt, which leads to changing answers on tests or working up my anxiety. I openly recognize this as something I need to work on, a vulnerability.
I started naming this feeling about a year ago, trying to understand myself and to create a healthy headspace that I can return to whenever I’m over wrought with doomsday ideas.
I tell myself three main things: I will get into a good college. I can be a good writer, person, and student at any college. A resume in high school really, truly cannot dictate the rest of my life. Maybe a fourth thing (that my tutor would appreciate) is that I will attack every test like I control the results!
But often I’m still stuck, bed ridden if you will, with imposter syndrome. It’s my vulnerability and I’m living with it. Every day I’m trying and that’s all we can ever do.
Elisabeth Dellit is an 11th Grader at Jesuit High School. She enjoys reading, writing creative stories, baking/cooking and participating in her school’s drama program.