I’m supposed to be here… Right?

Photo+credit%3A+Ren+Rader

Photo credit: Ren Rader

Illustration by Ren Rader

Hi, my name is Nina. I’m a Hispanic, first-generation college student from the Rio Grande Valley, and I suffer from imposter syndrome.

Now, if you are a bit unsure what “imposter syndrome” is, don’t worry. Imposter syndrome is the continual feeling that your accomplishments thus far are not rightfully earned, and you do not deserve the opportunities you currently have. It’s actually more common than you might think, especially among minorities.

Being from such a tight-knit community of predominantly Hispanic people, attending college here at Trinity has been quite the culture shock. Reflecting on the past two months that I’ve been here, I feel like I should have accomplished so much more than I have. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond grateful that I have the opportunity to go to college, at Trinity no less. However, I look around, and I see so many people that are smarter than me and have more interesting things to say. They already found their group of friends, and they are acing all their exams. I see people that just seem better than me.

Trinity is nothing like the Rio Grande Valley, and there are also very few people that look like the people back home. Suddenly, not as many people are speaking Spanish around me, and my mom’s Mexican food is not readily there in the refrigerator.

Not only that, I don’t think I have heard even a second of Tejano music since I’ve been here. It’s been a difficult first two months in college for me, to say the least. Everything is different, and I am finding it very difficult to adjust. Ultimately, it only adds to the feeling of fraudulence. Never in my life have I felt like I do not deserve to be somewhere, and it makes me think, “Do I really belong here?”

After some long and difficult conversations I have had during my time here at Trinity, I found the answer to that question is yes, I do belong here. I have fought and won too many battles to let myself believe for even a second that I am not deserving of the opportunity I have earned.

By no means are my battles over, either. Just in these two months alone, I have had more lows than I’ve had highs, and it sucks, but it’s all part of the journey. Some bad days do not take away from the good ones. But more importantly, feeling like you don’t deserve the opportunities you’ve earned doesn’t mean you don’t actually deserve them.

Imposter syndrome is no joke. I have had a difficult time accepting that I belong here, but I know that I am here because I am supposed to be. And I’m one of the lucky ones too. Even though I have met a small handful of people that just were not meant to stay in my life for very long, I have been lucky and blessed enough to meet several people that care about me and want to see me happy. Professors and students alike can be pretty great people, and your friends and family from home will always have your back too. All these different people can see just how hard you’ve worked to be where you are now. As much as your brain may tell you that you don’t belong here, you deserve to be here just as much as the next person.

Imposter syndrome doesn’t feel very pretty, and I know this first hand. However, my two months of experiencing imposter syndrome have taught me two things. First, there are so many other people that feel this way, and those people can make some of the best friends and resources, so talk to them. And second, a professor shared some wisdom from Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan with me the other day, and it reads: “Aguántate tantito y la fruta caerá en tu mano.”

I know I needed to hear this because I already felt inadequate compared to my peers. However, I am slowly learning that not everyone works at the same pace, so I just need to wait things out a bit longer in order for the fruits of my work to become recognizable and feel well-deserved.