Impostor Syndrome

Technically, Impostor Syndrome can be defined as: “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.” (According to Google).

When I first started to consider graduate school late last summer, self-doubt and feelings of “intellectual fraudulence” didn’t even begin to cover it. What right did I have to pursue graduate school? While I genuinely enjoyed many of my classes, I was not a straight A student. I can hardly spell without spell check. I would rather spend 5 hours on a paper for a B+ than 10 hours on a paper for an A. After getting over my initial fears and actually telling people I was going to apply to grad school, I did a truly incredible job of convincing myself that I wasn’t going to get in. That admissions committees across the country would be able to read through the lines of my carefully crafted personal statement and slightly above average transcripts, and send back massive LOL’s.

Somehow, in this universe, that didn’t happen. I’ve actually gotten more acceptances from schools than rejections, and just returned from my first admitted students weekend. If you feel like truly exploring the depths of your Impostor Syndrome, visit a campus of a grad school you are interested in. 

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Battling feelings of fraud is tricky. On one hand you feel as though you are going to get found out at any moment, that you will get pulled aside and told “I’m so sorry, we made a mistake, you should potentially look at other options”, and on the other hand, you want to bust down doors and throw your qualifications in the air like confetti. It turns into proving your worth to yourself, and not just anonymous admissions committees. They have deemed you qualified enough, and yet you still seek that validation.

After two days of back-to-back funding interviews, article discussions, campus tours, and plenty of opportunities to interact with current students and other candidates, it was time to face the facts. I did belong there. I absolutely deserved to be admitted to the program, just like every other individual in the room. I was able to hold my own in mock class discussions, and I feel confident about my interviews. At no point during the weekend did I feel left behind in an intellectual sense, and felt a few of my final graduate-level fears melt away.

It’s a funny thing when Impostor Syndrome fades. It’s not like you all of a sudden feel amazing about yourself, but it’s a quiet voice in your head that whispers: “speak up- your opinion is valid”.

I’m sure this won’t be my last interaction with Impostor Syndrome, with plenty of interviews and campus visits to go, but it’s a score for my confidence levels that I won this round. I do want this, and that’s okay. I want to be a graduate student, and am qualified to do so. I am not “less than” anyone else in the room. Feeling confident or having a sense of belonging doesn’t make me an egotistical maniac, but it does make me brave. Recognizing feelings of inadequacy doesn’t make me failure, it makes me a human who feels authentic nerves. And acknowledging that this is something I really want doesn’t make me cocky or fearless, if anything it does the opposite, but it does make me believe in my qualifications just that much more.

Sinking In

I’ve officially been a college graduate for two weeks now, and the whirlwind that was May is coming to a close. After all the flights, catching up with family, and one quick walk across the stage, it’s starting to sink in. I completed my undergraduate degrees! It’s a cause for celebration. It’s an accomplishment, yes, and an accomplishment I’m proud of- I was never the best student but always hovered around average or slightly above average.

I get that this is a happy time in my life…but does anyone else feel a small loss of identity? I’ve been a student since I was 5 years old. I’ve been pursuing (modest) educational pursuits for as long as I can remember, and now I’m a real person and I’m not quite sure what that means. I had to put “occupation” on a form the day after graduation, and I was completely at a loss.

I’m not a different person than who I was before I walked the stage, but it almost feels like I am. I’m unsure of how to fill my time without homework or studying, which admittedly I would experience every summer, but this is a forever kinda summer in my mind, pending potential graduate schools! I feel like my life is way more up to me. How I want to spend my time, how to fill my hours with things that I find fulfilling or productive. I’m feeling like I need to find a new “thing” now that school is out, like finally taking the leap and signing up for a mud run/obstacle course race or attempting a yoga challenge. I could take a cooking class or try CrossFit or run a marathon (lol) (can you tell I like to work out and eat). I feel like I have to DO something or create something or be something more than what I’ve been. It’s like a post-accomplishment lull, shrugging my shoulders and looking around, asking everyone who walks by “what now?”

This is getting depressing- that was not my intention! It’s more like a positive mindset: what can I tackle next? What is my life going to look like a year from now or three years or ten years from now? As sad as graduating college was, isn’t the prospect of doing anything you really want to exciting?!

Maybe I’m the idealistic graduate who is about to get punched in the face by the “real world” or maybe I’m the pessimist who feels identity loss, or maybe I’m both: the graduate that recognizes that graduating and joining the working world doesn’t make the past five years any less “real” than the world I’m entering now.

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Weekend Whirlwind

Hot damn I haven’t blogged since May 3rd (my bad). This month is over halfway finished and it has been a whirlwind, both literally and emotionally. This month alone I:

  • Have 15 different flights for four different trips
  • Finished my season on TWO feet at Canadian Senior Nationals (recap to come)
  • Submitted my final paper and wrote my FINAL final exam
  • Graduated college with two degrees (recap to come)
  • Said goodbye/see you later to my two best friends (I probably won’t write about that)

After a disastrous travel day out to West Coast to compete, the rest of the month is passing by in chunks- four days in Victoria, two days in Calgary, five days in Iowa, four days in Calgary, and four days in Denver, before spending the last weekend in May preparing for my internship starting June 1! I’ve been a whole number of things these past few weeks, including proud of my season and my graduation, thankful beyond measure my family could be there for those moments, and heartbroken saying goodbye to my best friends. It’s been the strangest and strongest combination of good and bad emotions, all echoing change and times of transition.

I’ll be playing catch up over the next two weeks or so, not only to recap the travel and the milestones but to work my way through the emotions of being a recent college graduate! I am no longer a Senior, or a Super Senior, of my college. I am an University of Iowa Alum, which is a title I will always carry with pride.

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Wishing everyone a happy Spring and I can’t wait to update you all!

Confessions of My Last College Weekend

Outside of graduation weekend, this was my last weekend as a college student. Point blank, there’s just not that many nights of college left. I feel the pull of the real world and the pull of those wild and crazy college nights…and I just can’t make myself WANT to go out.

I’ve been there- I’ve pulled the all-nighters and the memories that will last a lifetime. The hilarious and insane stories, ones that I hope I will remember for years and years to come (Doubt me? Hah. Iowa has been a Top 3 party-school including No. 1 in the years I’ve lived here). But now? I just can’t do it. I’m not interested in the pre-gaming, the effort of getting ready and getting drunk and going downtown and trying to figure out how I’m getting home later. I’m not judging anyone who goes out either! Like I said, I’ve been gung-ho about it before, but now it just feels like a past-time I’ve grown out of.

And you know what? The FOMO (#FearOfMissingOut) is SO real. It’s like I want to WANT to go out (hope ya’ll followed that) but I’m just not interested. I know I’m missing out on some awesome times. Thirsty Thursday, F.A.C., any rowdy Saturday. I hear the stories and the people my friends run in to, feeling a small pang of regret I wasn’t there. So the next night I force myself to get together, take a a couple shots, and join my friends whatever bar the current spot may be, and spend the whole night yawning and making sure everyone’s having a good time.

I don’t feel like spending $5 a drink, and having to consume a boatload of extra calories just to feel a little tipsy. I’m grumpy if it’s cold out. I hate how I feel the next morning. I’m get annoyed when people fight. I’m not interested in getting hit on by strangers. It’s just not for me anymore.

Have I gotten some crap from my friends? Absolutely. And I know they mean well, they want me to go out and have a good time and join them- and I do too! But I know that they’re hoping I’ll just let go. Get drunk. Be that out-there, extroverted, who-cares-kind-of-attitude girl that I just can’t will myself to be anymore.

My last college weekend, I put on makeup and a maxi skirt and went out for sushi. I joined my friends at the pre-game, drank some water, and then drove them downtown which they really appreciated. And then I went home, mostly happy, with a small part wishing I wanted to join them for whatever they would get up to that night. 

My last college weekend was tame, and it didn’t involve hangovers or any over the top outfit I’ve worn in the past. Do I want to go out to celebrate birthdays, and alumni weekends, and the works? Yes. Do I ever feel the need anymore to go downtown just for the sake of getting drunk and going downtown…? No. I really don’t. I don’t know what shifted or what changed over the past couple years, but my interests in regards to college weekends has defiantly transitioned.

I’ve only said it about 100000 times, but college has been the time of my life (I know I know I’ll stop I’m sorry). And I choose to not go out with a bang. I feel like I’ve had my fun, I’ve had my time. I’m ready to just enjoy a glass of wine or two (or three) as opposed to the bottle. I like how productive I can be Saturday and Sunday mornings. I like saving money, feeling better, feeling less tired. The past few weekends we’ve gone out for Senior Night and banquets and formals I have DRAGGED my butt through the week. I like feeling upbeat on a Monday morning instead of exhausted. I like catching up on sleep and work and prepping for the week ahead (I used to be the type who didn’t get hangover’s- LOL and then you become a college senior and it’s like you got hit by a truck).

I’m more than okay with not being the life of the party. The fear of me missing “the best night EVER” is still very real, and that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I am more than satisfied with my morning cup of coffee, often in bed, scrolling through social media, as opposed to reaching for a bottle of ginger ale and Advil. “So, to summarize, are you confessing to be kind of ‘lame’ your last weekend of college?” Well, err, yeah. I guess. My b.

Again, this post is not to judge or condone partying or drinking. Heck I even said I would want to more! This is just my personal opinion on where I am at in my life right now. 

Do It for the I-Ring

Sunday during the day we had our Annual Swimming and Diving Awards Banquet, and Monday evening I had the opportunity to attend the Iowa Athletic and Academic Awards Banquet, along with the Senior I-Ring Presentation. These two events involved dresses and heels, plenty of photos, and the recognition of the many achievements Iowa student-athletes have accumulated. I was asked to stand a few times along with many others, for making the All-Big Ten Team for Academics and for qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships. The Seniors got recognized with a procession to be seated, and then individually Monday evening to receive our I-Rings and induction into the National Varsity Club.

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Sunday, at the annual team awards, my coach stood at the front of the room and talked about how the team has grown, how this was the first time he had seniors graduating in the three years he’s been at Iowa, and told the story of my broken foot. I didn’t know he had planned to say anything about it. He admitted to many behind the scenes conversations that I wasn’t aware of, where the coaches and staff didn’t know if competing was going to be possible, and shared what struck him from my Big Ten meet; telling him I needed to finish what I started and finish with the girls I started with. He shared with the group that was the kind of individuals we had on this team- those who compete for the team knowing winning was out of the question.

My coach, in the past, has said that we need to be striving to leave the program better than we found it. We even had a specific conversation at the beginning on the season about what being a senior on this team would mean- mentoring the underclassmen through the difficulties of being an NCAA D1 athlete. Not just surviving, but thriving. I know my fellow seniors and I took that to heart, aiming to be the positive role models we thought the team needed. I thought by performing well and competing with heart I was demonstrating what our coach wanted us to do, but what I missed was the bigger picture. Our coach didn’t need us to be athlete role models, but role models for the ideals and values he taught us every day in the pool. He wanted us to demonstrate the life lessons he had taught us over the years. What I didn’t realize was that he was just as proud if not more so, of the example I set when injured, than when I was not. I didn’t know anyone was paying attention when I spent hours doing therapy and icing. I do know that I could not have made it through that time without the life lessons we had been taught through the past three years:

You need to fall in love with the daily grind. 

If you don’t love what you’re doing, every second of it, it’s not worth doing. You have to fall in love with every miserable minute. Every practice you feel like crap. Every day you’re stressed and tired and hate everyone. You need to fall in love with the bad days because if anything is guaranteed it’s you WILL have bad days. Embrace them.

Good is the enemy of great.

Do not settle. Do not give in to satisfactory, do not be “okay” with decent. Strive for more. Strive for better. Hold yourself accountable to be great. Belief that you CAN be great. Good is good but good is JUST good- don’t ever be satisfied with only good when there is the potential for greatness.

Do not despair. Do not give in.

Never, ever, ever, give up. Never give in. Like the daily grind, train through the bad days. Train through the negative self-talk. Don’t let the bad day win. Don’t let the bad day mask the bigger picture or alter your perspective on the ultimate goal.

Have the heart of a champion.

Having the heart of the champion is more than training and competing for the win. It’s about competing for the team, and training with a purpose. It’s about keeping a positive attitude above all, and rising up when we smack or fall (or break bones). Having the heart of a champion is never giving in to adversity, and fighting for your greatest potential.

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I didn’t think about my I-Ring much over the past five years. The significance of it just didn’t register with me while going through the practices and the travel and the competitions. And for someone who didn’t give it much thought, I can’t describe the feeling of pride in my chest when I slipped it on.

“Once a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye,” has never meant so much to me. No matter where I go in life, I will always be a Hawkeye, an Iowa alum, and a member of the Iowa National Varsity Club.

What Now…?

The season is wrapped, Spring Break (and the two weeks after it) are over and I’ve got every weekend mapped out from now until my college graduation. The reality is it’s not even that many weekends left to plan (insert that total-shock emoji x100).

Despite all the reminiscing I’ve been going through I can’t help but look forward to the next six months! It’s going to be a whirlwind, no doubt about that, and I’m approaching the next six months with excitement, a whole lot of nerves, and one heck of an open mind. Withoutfurtherado

The Injury Update: I’ve been 100% boot-free as of Monday. My follow up X-rays Tuesday showed some bone growth but not completely healed, but I’ve been diving again part time training for a National competition in six weeks! I’m still not allowed to jump until next week and I can’t run until the week after that, but partial cleared is better than not cleared!

The Internship: Starting June 1st I’ll be starting a my first “real job” post graduation! This ten week internship is going to be a STEEP learning curve, with long hours and a lot of work and a whole new professional experience to help advance my career. While I never pictured myself working in baseball, I could not be more excited about this opportunity to expand my skill set and experiences!

The Obstacle Course/Mud Run: A 2015 Tough Mudder is STILL on the schedule, despite the fact I haven’t run for months and I don’t have a date/race picked out in the slightest. I’m open to doing a Warrior Dash or a Spartan Race, and I’ll pick a race once I determine my fitness level post-Nationals and am 100% cleared to do everything again.

The Job Search: Despite having the internship, a part time job, and my virtual job, I’m still hunting down positions and sending off resumes. Ideally I’d like to get something lined up ASAP for post-internship, so I can feel better about scaling back on other things. I’m too afraid to let something slip off my plate in case I need it as back-up come Fall, so here I am trucking away still.

Side Note: As of May I’ll have two undergraduate degrees, my High School State Coaching Authorization, and my CPR certification. I’m debating getting my Personal Training Certification at some point this summer, and I’d love feedback! Worth it as a side job? Not worth it? Is there something I haven’t considered? I figured a fitness side job without the restrictions of a typical shift worker would be great but I’m worried I have a romanticized view of the industry! Comment below or email me :)

A New Roommate: Same apartment, different team mate. It’s going to be a bit of transition but I”m still so excited to live with someone on the team and I’m SO happy I don’t have to leave my place! It’s like all the benefits and excitement of moving without actually having to move- I get to reorganize and redecorate and it’s like a brand new start minus the heavy lifting.

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As always, when life picks up this blog is the first thing to slip. I don’t stress over it as this blog is not a source of income or endorsements, but a release for me and great way to expand and report on my interests. A midterm after Spring Break kept me pretty busy and I had to pay catch up after that, but I’m looking forward to a chill but productive Easter Weekend! I’m looking forward to sleeping in (till like 8:30am) and then FINALLY catching up on the running, endless, To-Do list.

What’s coming up that you’re looking forward to?