I had my six-month dental cleaning recently, and as my wonderful hygienist, Nicole, polished and poked my teeth, my gums felt a bit more sensitive than they usually do. I mentioned that I’d been slacking on my flossing.
Nicole asked me how many days a week I flossed, and I sheepishly answered, "Maybe four?"
"That’s really good," she said. "And your teeth look great. I think you're just psyching yourself out."
Psyching myself out. This was the second time in the past month someone told me I was doing that, and it reminded me that most of us are too hard on ourselves — and we’re usually doing a lot better than we think.
I transferred to UNC from Wake Tech Community College two years ago. And I often think that I must have been admitted to this university by mistake, I'm not as smart as my peers, I don't deserve to be in the positions I'm in.
During orientation in July 2019, Luke Fayard, the University's transfer student coordinator, gave a presentation about impostor syndrome — a phenomenon characterized by intense self-doubt and feeling like a fraud.
And it seems transfer students are particularly prone to it.
Transfer students take many different paths to UNC. In my cohort, there was a father of two who was closer to my parents' ages than my own, a baseball player who had a chance to join the Diamond Heels, people who attended community college first to save money, many who started out at other universities but decided they needed a change for one reason or another … the list goes on.
Of the 71 percent of incoming first-years who reported their high school class rank in 2020, almost three-fourths were in the top 10 percent of their class, and over 90 percent were in the top 20, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. By contrast, it's not uncommon for transfer students to have not done so well in high school and then worked really hard during their first year or two of college to prove themselves.