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Imposter Syndrome: Coming From a College Student

Imposter Syndrome. The feeling that you aren’t good enough, qualified enough, talented enough, smart enough… you get the point. For me, this has been extremely prevalent in my transition from working part time jobs in the customer service arena to working in the design world. I dipped my toe into the design work field by designing websites.

What made me qualified? Why should someone choose me over a web design agency? Am I sure I can even do this?

These were the things going through my head as I sent out countless cold emails to try to get my first client. No doubt, it’s hard to push these thoughts out of your head when jumping into something new. It was exciting and worrisome at the same time. I wanted to be sure that I could actually provide my clients with a site that they loved and was functional.

I’m not saying to just jump right out there and start charging clients and people for something you’ve never done before. Start with a portfolio. I began by creating mock websites on Wix to simply get a handle on things. My first client was a small independent business owner. I started with projects I knew I could manage and worked my way to larger ones - and I still have a ways of learning to go. Being young shouldn’t and doesn’t disqualify me from getting clients. In fact, most of my clients are actually glad I’m a designer in college. I’m young, have a fresh perspective on design, am learning current design practices in school, and on top of that, charge them a lot less than a large design agency would :)

It’s okay to not know how to do something, but it’s not okay to doubt your abilities when you know deep down that you are qualified. Everyone has insecurities but in order to grow, you can’t let those insecurities hinder you.

Here's the thing, everybody starts somewhere - and it’s usually at the bottom. That CEO of a huge company started out as the intern. The boss started out as the employee. The supervisor was once a student. There's no way to jump to the top, we have to accept that. Go at your own pace and be fair and transparent about your experience level. Take projects that you know are within your skill scope. Take courses to learn more. Talk to others that are successful within your field. Work for free. Find a mentor. Go above and beyond to ensure that the service you provide is great and that your clients are happy.

Dealing with imposter syndrome is definitely not fun, but don’t let it stop you. Reassure yourself that you CAN do it. Recognize your accomplishments. Acknowledge your work ethic for what you have worked towards. Your success is a result of what you’ve done to earn it.

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