Imposter syndrome has been around for a while now, originating in the 70s and making its first big debut back in a 2008 New York Times article.
Imposter syndrome is a term for when a woman feels she hasn't earned any of her achievements, and therefore, she is unable to take credit for anything she has done.
The often-forgotten topic began trending again recently, when New York Magazine’s Molly Fischer shed a positive light on the idea.
She says if she, in fact, suffers from imposter syndrome, she hopes it never goes away because it lights a fire under our asses.
Before I dive into how my roommates and I thrive off of this syndrome on a day-to-day basis to the point where we find it almost necessary, let me first define it in Millennial terms.
The New York Times defined it as, “the internal experience of a group of high-achieving women” — and eventually adults of all ages — “who had a secret sense they were not as capable as others thought.”
This simply translates to comparing yourself to others doing “better” than you, and then playing it off like you’re not intimidated and plan to, in fact, achieve your wildest dreams.
Does that really sound that bad? No.
If anything, that’s how we should go about life, both professionally and personally.
To prove that theory, I will use my three best friends and college roommates as examples.
We are all one-of-a-kind.
Let me start off by explaining I’ve lived with these women during all four years of college, so many would sort us into very similar societal buckets.
They are my right hands, my go-tos, my fashion consultants, my dish doers (rarely) and my life partners.
And in my eyes, we have four of the most different personalities .
First, we have my double-major roommate. She's half ballerina, half environmental activist and full aspiring stand-up comedian.
Then, there's the one majoring in interdisciplinary social sciences with concentrations in political science and international studies and a minor in women and gender studies.
Say that five times fast.
Next, we have the finance major, future grad student, clothing collector and aspiring commerical real estate broker.
Then, there’s me, the city dweller who’s just accepted her dream job at a magazine in her hometown of Boston.
And those are just our professional titles.
What’s one thing we all have in common? We all have goals, dreams and plans. No “syndrome” will ever get in the way of those.
It’s all about perspective.
As Millennials, we carry the negative connotation we’re too entitled to our achievements, and our parents had to work harder in order for us to coast by.
So, it doesn’t surprise me this topic is trending now of all times.
My roommates and I will tag one another in posts saying things like, “K,” jokingly implying we’re upset.
But does that mean we’re not being the best versions of ourselves?
Does that mean the confidence we feel as individuals is “fraudulent”?
No, it means we’re always motivated to get better, whether that’s in attempt to get abs like Natasha Oakley or a job that makes you as happy as Chrissy Teigen.
Last night, my dancer roommate was frustrated with her current place in her career and asked, “Why the hell am I not one of Justin Bieber's backup dancers already?”
Then, we reminded her she was just flown to Beijing to dance for 10 days and had also been unknowingly mentioned in a dance textbook written across the country.
You are always doing better than you think you are.
It’s not a competition.
Fischer states in the article mentioned above that imposter syndrome sparks a “terrified, guilty insecurity” that’s an “excellent motivational tool.”
My roommates and I are clearly all chasing different dreams, but it’s never been a contest of who can accomplish the coolest thing. In fact, I consider us to be teammates.
I help my roommates write professional emails, while they make sure I sound politically correct, feel morally intact and take time to cut loose.
We ask one another for advice at least 50 times a day (not exaggerating).
You should always be striving for improvement. It’s healthy and necessary, especially when you have people you love constantly challenging and questioning you.
Confidence is valued over cockiness.
We’re Millennials. We like getting gold stars and pats on the back when we do something well.
Whether my roommates and I scored an interview, a job, a boyfriend or a new pair of shoes, we tell one another and usually the rest of the world, too.
In my apartment, we know our professional and personal worth.
So, while some mornings we might be looking in the mirror thinking we could do better, we’re also out there showing the world we’re killing it.
Why? Because it feels good. Sue us.
Neither us nor you are considered “imposters.” And chances are, if you’re telling everyone you’re doing well, you probably are.
So own it.