Reflecting on My First Semester at JMU

In one of my previous blogs I discussed my recent feelings of Impostor Syndrome as a new transfer student this semester. An article from The Chronicle defines impostor syndrome as “an internal experience of intellectual phoniness”. As the semester slowly comes to an end I have been reflecting on it and how my feelings of being a phony have changed throughout. I have taken a step back and really looked at all I have accomplished with my hard work.

I was not motivated to do well in any of my general education classes during my freshman and sophomore year at Blue Ridge Community College. My GPA kept getting lower and lower, so I had come to terms with the fact that I was not going to get accepted into JMU. It wasn’t until I took my first psychology class that I started feeling motivation to put effort in. I went from having a 2.4 GPA to a 3.0 GPA in a year and was eventually able to transfer. I was so proud of myself for working hard and finding the motivation to try in my passion for psychology!

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

I was nervous but confident that I would do well when I started at JMU because I was enrolled in classes that interested me. I had a friend who is also a student at JMU who was really worried about me becoming accustomed to the course work and difficulty of the classes here. She treated me as if I was less of a student than her since I transferred in from a community college. She even told me that I probably wouldn’t get good grades this semester which was really discouraging.

Despite the fact that I was already halfway through the semester doing very well, I began to doubt myself and really feel like less of a student than those around me. This quote from the article in The Chronicle explains how I was feeling all too well: “Despite all of their external achievement, these women still felt like they didn’t belong”. I was proud but still had a feeling of guilt whenever I got an A back. I felt like I had snuck my way into this university that I didn’t belong at.

Eventually, instead of letting her words discourage me into actually getting bad grades I decided to let it encourage me to work harder. I realized that my true friends are the ones who are encouraging me and are proud of my accomplishments. I don’t need someone in my life who is going to discourage me from reaching my goals.

My self-esteem emerged once I began to ignore those unwanted opinions from that toxic friend. My feelings of being a fraud have improved a lot and I have embraced my achievements as a first- generation student.

This is my last blog for ShoutOut! and I had such a good time writing and learning about feminism this semester! I hope that I was able to spread some positivity throughout this community! ❤

4 thoughts on “Reflecting on My First Semester at JMU

  1. I think that it’s great that you found something that you’re truly interested in! I’m a psychology major too, and I think that the intrinsic motivation that it brings to people like us is incredibly important. I’m glad you were able to persevere and find a place here at JMU (and ShoutOut!), and I think you’ll go far!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am proud of you for finding the thing that sets your soul on fire, and working hard to make that dream a reality! Keep pursuing what you love, and always remember the power of speaking your truth!

    Liked by 1 person

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