How to deal with imposter syndrome

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Peg
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How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby Peg » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:43 am

So I'm actually a 0L until this fall, but I've already met up twice with some groups of future classmates who will be joining me at my T30 law school, and my issue is about how to deal with...well, it feels like imposter syndrome to be honest.

I'm pretty much straight from undergrad --> law, but I graduated a semester early so I've had a little break before law school begins. I've only got a couple of unpaid internships and one campus job under my belt. I was a massive, massive slacker and idiot in UG and only pulled myself together in the last year of undergrad and while studying for the LSAT. I'm going to a really good T30 law school (don't want to name it because I suspect some of the people I met are also on TLS), and I'm a little puzzled as to how I got admitted.

My future classmates are older than I am, and seem very worldly and accomplished and just savvy to my eyes. Some of them are Fulbright Scholars. Some of them left quite well-paying jobs for this. Many of them went to better UG schools than mine - not just the Ivies, but also the top public schools, liberal arts colleges and women's colleges. They've done some really incredible and difficult internships. They already seem so confident about 1L year, which really threw me because I feel wary and ignorant about it even though I've read GTM and am going through LEEWS.

I guess I just feel like...I didn't know my competition would be so formidable, first of all, and secondly, I feel so young and inexperienced and unprepared in comparison. How will I be able to hold my own against them? Why did the adcoms think I would be able to hold my own against them, for that matter? Like all 0Ls, I nurture hopes of finishing high in my class and generally performing really well - but I seem to have superachievers wrecking my curve!

How many of you have met future classmates so far? Did you go away with this feeling? Okay I'm generally not an insecure stressball, to be honest, but I guess I was just...taken aback. How do you deal with imposter syndrome, if this is indeed imposter syndrome?

FiveSermon
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:45 am

Being young and inexperienced has nothing to do with how well you do on your law school finals.

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Verity
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby Verity » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:52 am

How do you know that they don't feel the same way?

Look, if they're better than you and are going to grade higher than you, it is what it is. Getting nervous about it is not only unhelpful, but potentially harmful to your performance (haha, sounds like we're talking about sex). They're probably just as frightened.

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powerlawyer06
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby powerlawyer06 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:54 am

I have met some of my future classmates and they seem similiar to what you are describing. They all seem to have a great "story". Either a ton of W/E, prestigious scholarships, or other crazy achievements. I am older than you and I have some W/E under my belt but trust me when I say that everyone is feeling the same way you do. The people with work experience are doubting themselves academically because they have not had to do any school work for a long time. The other undergraduates are scared they will not be the smartest one in the room like they were in UG.

YOUR FEELINGS ARE NORMAL

In the end it isn't about your background or where you came from(except maybe in interviews). It is more about how you execute while in law school. If you got into the a T30 then someone recognized that you had the potential to succeed there. Just realize that everyone feels the same way you do and don't freak out.

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bk1
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:22 am

Three things:

1. It's pretty easy to tell which school you went to by looking at your post history so it isn't like it's a big secret.

2. I would hazard that the vast majority of law school students (even at the T14) are just like you and realize that when people talk to strangers they try and talk themselves up so their experiences sound better than they are.

3. Once you start actually studying and taking finals you probably will completely forget that you thought this way.

Peg
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby Peg » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:08 am

powerlawyer06 wrote:I have met some of my future classmates and they seem similiar to what you are describing. They all seem to have a great "story". Either a ton of W/E, prestigious scholarships, or other crazy achievements. I am older than you and I have some W/E under my belt but trust me when I say that everyone is feeling the same way you do. The people with work experience are doubting themselves academically because they have not had to do any school work for a long time. The other undergraduates are scared they will not be the smartest one in the room like they were in UG.

YOUR FEELINGS ARE NORMAL


Thanks, that does put it into some perspective. I guess everyone puts up a confident front at these meet-ups, as the other replies to this thread also guessed, and maybe I was fooled by the bravado.

(Good point bk1, about my posting history, but I actually made a last minute change in my original plan because a lower-ranked - but still great - school gave me a slightly higher scholarship, and because of a couple other factors.)

I don't know how these meet-ups go for incoming classes at other schools, but I suspect they're pretty much the same. Everyone's friendly and jovial and has their best face on for the afternoon (or evening as it may be), and then when it comes to talking about themselves, it suddenly feels like we're "talking shop", the atmosphere just becomes a little less casual and a little more alert, and you feel like you're being sized up. Which is exactly what is happening. They all seem really friendly and funny though, so it's a little disarming.

Funny part is I really had nothing to boast about in comparison, with the result that now a couple of them think I'm being mysteriously modest. :|

Yeah, I'm sure the current law students reading this know that nothing is for sure until you actually start taking classes together. Hopefully I will be able to read this post and laugh at it and the end of this year. Right now I'm just going to focus on NOT comparing with others as much as possible because I think it's the easiest way to psych yourself out and lose focus.

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evilxs
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby evilxs » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:02 am

Mysteriously Modest is your modus operandi.

The number one student in my law class is just that. She is very young, I would imagine identical to your situation. I have not seen any correlation at all between career/life experience and performance in law school. A lot of those really puffy folks from the beginning of the year are not sitting on the honors list at my school.

I have multiple degrees, life experience, amazing background blah blah blah. My study partner is 22, never had a real job, and never done any internships. She is my study partner cause she is better at law school than me. She is amazing. Buckle down, study hard, and rock law school.

You are there for a reason. You have qualities that will lead you to being successful there. Take advantage of your situation to fly under their radar. If they don't view you as competition you'll get less annoying offers for study groups or being asked for your outlines. Smile hun, you're already on your way to an amazing life. Go to school and don't worry about what everyone else has done. 8)

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Cupidity
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby Cupidity » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:06 am

Just remember, many of the older students with real jobs, receding hairlines, wrinkles and children want to be college twenty-somethings living it up now that they are back in school. Enjoy your newfound popularity.

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evilxs
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby evilxs » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:12 am

wow, What a generic off-base remark. :roll:

I don't think most of us are running around "living it up" and hanging out with the bar hoppers.


We are juggling kids, family, and law school homework. That is enough :roll:

dooood
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby dooood » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:17 am

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Last edited by dooood on Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Borhas
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby Borhas » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:20 am

I thought like OP as well, but then I realized that I was born and bred for success

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YankeesFan
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby YankeesFan » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:22 am

The real question OP, is whether you were born with #Adonnis DNA? If you weren't there is almost a zero percent chance of you #Winning.

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Always Credited
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby Always Credited » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:43 am

1.) don't be a bitch; sack up and quit being scared.

2.) your classmates are as smart or smarter than you. luckily, this doesn't matter in any way whatsoever.

3.) watch braveheart until #1 makes sense.

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gwuorbust
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby gwuorbust » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:04 pm

Always Credited wrote:1.) don't be a bitch; sack up and quit being scared.

2.) your classmates are as smart or smarter than you. luckily, this doesn't matter in any way whatsoever.

3.) watch braveheart until #1 makes sense.


TITCR.

rmbr OP, how many "life experiences" everyone else has had does not matter in the least. it all comes down to taking about 8-10 final exams. and while climbing mount Kilimanjaro might get some baller laid, it will not help in in typing out the exam answer. ignore the noise, have fun and just rmbr to ball out the finals.

td6624
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby td6624 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:19 pm

YankeesFan wrote:The real question OP, is whether you were born with #Adonnis DNA? If you weren't there is almost a zero percent chance of you #Winning.


still? really?

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thecilent
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby thecilent » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:24 pm

"a really good T30" lol

aliarrow
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby aliarrow » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:31 pm

I know what you mean... my expression was :shock: when I started running into a bunch of Ivy grads at my T30 ASDs - I'm from a crappy part of Florida and up until now I haven't ever even seen anyone in person who went to an Ivy.

But from what I've gathered, none of that matters. Splitters seem to do best in law school since they have the most raw intelligence. Nothing else matters when it comes to law school exams, your professor won't care that you were the captain of the Crew team at Harvard.

ETA: If it helps, my mindset was "Now I'm a part of them". Don't be discouraged, just take it as a sign you're now part of a more elite group.

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bk1
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:33 pm

aliarrow wrote:Splitters seem to do best in law school since they have the most raw intelligence.


This is only marginally so and even then it is irrelevant since LSAT scores are very tightly clustered at each school, meaning that splitters are rarely that far off from the rest of the class.

bhan87
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby bhan87 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:34 pm

thecilent wrote:"a really good T30" lol


Douchebaggery necessary? T30 with scholarship can be a worthwhile investment.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:34 pm

aliarrow wrote:Splitters seem to do best in law school since they have the most raw intelligence.

I agree with your sentiment overall, but when I got to this sentence...

Image

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Verity
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby Verity » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:34 pm

bk1 wrote:
aliarrow wrote:Splitters seem to do best in law school since they have the most raw intelligence.


This is only marginally so and even then it is irrelevant since LSAT scores are very tightly clustered at each school, meaning that splitters are rarely that far off from the rest of the class.


Egregious anti-splitter trolling.

FiveSermon
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:35 pm

bk1 wrote:
aliarrow wrote:Splitters seem to do best in law school since they have the most raw intelligence.


This is only marginally so and even then it is irrelevant since LSAT scores are very tightly clustered at each school, meaning that splitters are rarely that far off from the rest of the class.


This. Also I know a few splitters IRL who have done very well on the LSAT but have no memorization capabilities. No lie. I don't think they even know the alphabet.

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thecilent
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby thecilent » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:35 pm

bhan87 wrote:
thecilent wrote:"a really good T30" lol


Douchebaggery necessary? T30 with scholarship can be a worthwhile investment.

Agreed. Stop making assumptions.

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northwood
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby northwood » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:37 pm

people lie and stretch the truth all of the time. Especially when they meet people for the first time, and in a new environment. Take everything with a grain of salt. Sure some people did great and wonderful things, but more than likely they did some of the things they talked about, and wished or tried and failed to do the rest of the things they say and do.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How to deal with imposter syndrome

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:39 pm

thecilent wrote:
bhan87 wrote:
thecilent wrote:"a really good T30" lol

Douchebaggery necessary? T30 with scholarship can be a worthwhile investment.

Agreed. Stop making assumptions.

Maybe you should stop making simplistic, borderline-trolling comments that prompt such assumptions.




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