As a child, saying I wanted to attend BYU (Brigham Young University) was an understatement. BYU's acceptance rate hovers around 50% with those having a high average ACT score of 28.95. Being as smart as a bag of rocks, I applied with confidence.
I applied to BYU when I graduated high school. Rejected. I applied again after my 1st year at a junior college. Rejected. I applied again after I graduated from that junior college. Rejected. I applied again while serving an LDS mission. Rejected. I applied again just before returning from my mission. Rejected. Hell knows why, but I applied again after that. Rejected? Accepted!
I Don't Deserve To Be Here
When people would ask, "Where are you studying?" With confidence replied "BYU." But inside I felt different. I felt like a fake. I felt the admissions department only admitted me out of pity. I mean, who applies 6x to their undergraduate college? In class, my mind would think:
- If these people knew I had to apply 6x...
- If these people knew my ACT score...
- If these people knew how dumb I am...
The overall feeling of "I don't deserve to be here!" dominated my life at BYU. I thought I was an impostor.
Amy Cuddy, in her book 'Presence' said everyone at some point feels
"...the deep and sometimes paralyzing belief that we have been given something we didn't earn and don't deserve and that at some point we'll be exposed."
It's called impostorism. And when we experience impostorism, we might say, "I don't deserve...
- to be in this friendship
- to be loved by my spouse
- to be included in my church
- to have this job
- this because I'm not attractive
- to be here because of my education level
- this great responsibility
- this award
Here's the kicker from Cuddy's book:
When we feel like impostors, we don't attribute our accomplishments to something internal and constant, such as talent or ability; instead we credit something beyond our control, such as luck.
Bag The Impostor
It took me years before I could bag the "I'm an impostor" and 'high-five' myself for getting into BYU and not give credit to 'luck'. Some students earned their spots at BYU with high ACT scores and incredible GPA's. I earned mine with a subpar ACT and continually knocking at the admissions office until they let me in. And I'm okay with that.