I am a twentysomething, and most of my friends fit this category snuggly. Common conversations I hear revolve around when our employers are going to find out that we are faking it. The first time I heard a friend tell me they felt this way, I felt deeply understood. Since then, I have discovered that this is more the norm for millennials. In fact, researchers call this the “imposter syndrome”, a common experience of emerging adults feeling incompetent despite clear signs of aptitude and potential for growth.
Fresh out of college, many emerging adults are increasingly feeling like they are in an in between wilderness between adolescence and adulthood. This wilderness is for self-discovery, a search for meaning in career and romantic life. These woods and deserts can be wondrous and enlightening, but they are also filled with uphill climbs and unknown beasts we may not know how to handle. Psychological risk factors, including feelings of incompetence and lack of purpose, should not be faced alone or with a lack of direction. Faced alone, we may feel ill prepared, wondering if we are in the right job or on the right path.
If you feel afflicted by imposter syndrome, I invite you to seek out social support through friends, family, therapists, and loose connections. Remind yourself of your values and come to accept your own limitations. Talking to older adults can remind us that our twenties are a time of building a base, rather than reaching our full potential. Psychologist and author Dr. Meg Jay reminds readers in her book, The Defining Decade that reaching our potential is something that happens later in life, after building a solid foundation in our twenties.
If you would like to talk about this further as a fellow twentysomething, join us for our Emerging Adults Support Group starting October 30! We will meet for eight weeks to process and discuss the unique challenges and hopes of this exciting and difficult time of life! Inquire more by contacting us through our website or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.