We all have things that we are scared of, no matter how brave we may appear on the outside. I can vividly remember what my predominating fear was during the time I was in undergraduate college in Vermont. Sure, I was frequently worried about exams and getting high marks at the end of the semester. Like many pre-vet students, I was also scared about the looming monster of organic chemistry (it ended up not being that bad or scary at all!). But most of all, I was scared of the chance that I would not be accepted into veterinary school.
For those who know me, I am sure many think that this fear was very displaced and unjustified. I was a focused student as an undergraduate that always held a paying job that involved livestock, and I maintained a competitive GPA. Theoretically, I was on the perfect trajectory to veterinary school. Yet, I was still worried. No, I was terrified. I was terrified of all of the “what if” questions. What if I did not get accepted into veterinary school? What if I am not cut out for this life? What if I have been somehow sneaking by in this system of veterinary training and it has all been based on luck? Some people call this “imposter syndrome,” referring to the fact that even when you are doing perfectly fine with your endeavors, you still manage to think that your efforts are subpar or strictly based on luck. I tend to view this as a pattern of thinking instead of an actual “syndrome.” It might be worth some of your time to read up on. This is a problem that many people deal with. I see it more and more every year in my fellow students. For anyone who has lived in a similar mindset or experienced this “imposter syndrome,” please read on.
I have come to learn that negative “what if” statements only deter us from our goals. More often than not, they are not true, will never become true, and simply represent our own lingering self-doubt.
For those of you dealing with any negative thoughts that are hindering your progress, I have a tip for you. For every negative thought, add in a positive thought that counteracts it.