The Student Room Group

Impostor syndrome (venting/support needed)

I am a 2nd year data science student on my placement year right now, and I am feeling more and more like I do not belong here - not in a "I want to end myself" kind of way, more so "I do not deserve this opportunity, I didn't earn it" kind of way.

I essentially edge-cased myself into university. I did an Open University credit transfer into second year because I did not make up the UCAS points to make it into uni straight out of A-levels. None of my "classmates" at OU were my age, they were all older adults who were in further training for promotions at their jobs and such - not a first year like I was, and I don't know of anyone else who has done this.

I found OU to be quite easy as it's self-learning and I more-so crash coursed it and took a lot of units at once so I could still be on track to graduate in 2025. When I started uni in year 2 I felt like I had skipped a lot of things, particularly when it comes to programming, probably because OU is more "fundamentals" and more so college-level rather than university-level learning, but I managed to marginally pass my units anyway (I can owe that to ChatGPT more than anything tbh)

Somehow I ended up getting into a placement because I guess I had a good cover letter and interview? But now that I am here I am feeling more and more like I shoehorned myself into a position I did not earn and that I do not belong in.

I am struggling with coding in particular and GPT is a huge crutch right now, I have no experience with coding prior to university and I haven't had much opportunity to practice and develop my skills before getting into a placement, so if GPT happens to have an outage I am basically unable to produce any work whatsoever - not to mention I am learning a new language at my placement.

I am feeling like none of my skills are developed enough to be on placement, and that I conned my employer with a good cover letter, but that in reality I actually have nothing to offer or contribute whatsoever. Everything they are teaching me goes over my head entirely and I can't do anything but nod along because I am so lost I wouldn't even know where to begin asking questions. I am good at writing if anything, I should've been a writer instead but now that's a bit of an awkward industry to get into at the moment...

I really feel like I should not be on this placement right now, I feel like I am wasting their time and that they are going to regret taking me on if they aren't already. Everyday I go in to work I do not feel dialled in whatsoever, I disassociate severely, they talk to me but I cannot get myself to listen, I am just completely in my head every single day and I can't control it.

I've tried to reach out to the university counsellor but every time I talk to her she just tells me "you are overreacting, you are completely in your head" as if I don't know that already. It just makes me feel even worse about myself so I don't even book appointments with her anymore, because they are not useful and I'm made to feel like an inconvenience whenever I talk to her.

I really don't want to be at my placement anymore but I can't just leave it now. That'll be a huge stain on my record, and I need the money because this is the most job security I've ever had, I normally cannot hold down a job whatsoever.

I am suspecting I might be on the spectrum in some way, because I am finding it extremely difficult to secure and hold down a job. Also I eat lunch at my desk everyday because lunchroom chat is incredibly overwhelming for me, the few times I made an effort to be social it ended up extremely awkward and I have just avoided it since. Examples not exhaustive, there are other symptoms I have, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make.

I worry I make everyone uncomfortable at my placement, and that they are slowly coming to the realisation that I was just a good cover letter and nothing else. I think they were wrong about me, but also I hope they don't kick me off obviously.

I have panic attacks everyday at work, and at home after work, my sense of self worth is completely destroyed and I just feel like trash on the ground, I just want to squeeze myself into an infinitely small ball and disappear, I feel like my very presence is a problem and inconvenience for everyone else. I know it's all in my head because at work no one is reprimanding me and they are being very gracious, but at the same time they don't give me any work to do anymore even though there are lots of things I could be doing, and I generally feel like they are avoiding me.

When I first started 10 weeks ago they used to give me little things to do here and there all the time but now that's completely stopped even though we are busier than ever. I worry it's because my work has been really bad, and they realised I cannot produce anything useful, but they haven't given me any feedback good or bad so I don't know what's going on.

I feel like I can't get anything right, and that I have been lying to everyone around me. I realise I must have huge impostor syndrome, but I also kind of don't see how I'm not just actually an impostor when I rely on ChatGPT to write all my code and I edge-cased into university through OU when I otherwise wouldn't have got this far. None of my "achievements" feel like my own, if there are any achievements at all.

I don't exactly know where I am going with this, I suppose I just feel like a huge fraud, and I'm not sure what I can do about it. It feels like a spiralling situation where my poor mental health is impacting my performance, which in turn is impacting my mental health and so on... I'm not sure how I can break this cycle. I have no support system besides my LDR boyfriend, my family is even worse in terms of mental health than I am, I have no friends, and the uni counsellor is complete ****.

Sidenote: this all has been impacting my relationship with my boyfriend as well, as understandably he's not sure how to handle me right now and it's causing a lot of tension between us, so now I avoid unloading on him too much so I don't ruin my relationship too, ruining my placement is enough as is.

I just feel like a little kid, I feel so lost, I am so tired, I don't want any of the responsibility I've been given at my placement anymore. I wish someone would just hold my hand and show me what to do and reassure me, it's all too much, I feel like I'm not cut out for it whatsoever. :frown:

Thank you if you read this monstrosity, I appreciate anyone who took the time to read about my stupid problems. <3

Please be nice if you reply :frown:
Original post by LunarCascade87
I am a 2nd year data science student on my placement year right now, and I am feeling more and more like I do not belong here - not in a "I want to end myself" kind of way, more so "I do not deserve this opportunity, I didn't earn it" kind of way.

I essentially edge-cased myself into university. I did an Open University credit transfer into second year because I did not make up the UCAS points to make it into uni straight out of A-levels. None of my "classmates" at OU were my age, they were all older adults who were in further training for promotions at their jobs and such - not a first year like I was, and I don't know of anyone else who has done this.

I found OU to be quite easy as it's self-learning and I more-so crash coursed it and took a lot of units at once so I could still be on track to graduate in 2025. When I started uni in year 2 I felt like I had skipped a lot of things, particularly when it comes to programming, probably because OU is more "fundamentals" and more so college-level rather than university-level learning, but I managed to marginally pass my units anyway (I can owe that to ChatGPT more than anything tbh)

Somehow I ended up getting into a placement because I guess I had a good cover letter and interview? But now that I am here I am feeling more and more like I shoehorned myself into a position I did not earn and that I do not belong in.

I am struggling with coding in particular and GPT is a huge crutch right now, I have no experience with coding prior to university and I haven't had much opportunity to practice and develop my skills before getting into a placement, so if GPT happens to have an outage I am basically unable to produce any work whatsoever - not to mention I am learning a new language at my placement.

I am feeling like none of my skills are developed enough to be on placement, and that I conned my employer with a good cover letter, but that in reality I actually have nothing to offer or contribute whatsoever. Everything they are teaching me goes over my head entirely and I can't do anything but nod along because I am so lost I wouldn't even know where to begin asking questions. I am good at writing if anything, I should've been a writer instead but now that's a bit of an awkward industry to get into at the moment...

I really feel like I should not be on this placement right now, I feel like I am wasting their time and that they are going to regret taking me on if they aren't already. Everyday I go in to work I do not feel dialled in whatsoever, I disassociate severely, they talk to me but I cannot get myself to listen, I am just completely in my head every single day and I can't control it.

I've tried to reach out to the university counsellor but every time I talk to her she just tells me "you are overreacting, you are completely in your head" as if I don't know that already. It just makes me feel even worse about myself so I don't even book appointments with her anymore, because they are not useful and I'm made to feel like an inconvenience whenever I talk to her.

I really don't want to be at my placement anymore but I can't just leave it now. That'll be a huge stain on my record, and I need the money because this is the most job security I've ever had, I normally cannot hold down a job whatsoever.

I am suspecting I might be on the spectrum in some way, because I am finding it extremely difficult to secure and hold down a job. Also I eat lunch at my desk everyday because lunchroom chat is incredibly overwhelming for me, the few times I made an effort to be social it ended up extremely awkward and I have just avoided it since. Examples not exhaustive, there are other symptoms I have, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make.

I worry I make everyone uncomfortable at my placement, and that they are slowly coming to the realisation that I was just a good cover letter and nothing else. I think they were wrong about me, but also I hope they don't kick me off obviously.

I have panic attacks everyday at work, and at home after work, my sense of self worth is completely destroyed and I just feel like trash on the ground, I just want to squeeze myself into an infinitely small ball and disappear, I feel like my very presence is a problem and inconvenience for everyone else. I know it's all in my head because at work no one is reprimanding me and they are being very gracious, but at the same time they don't give me any work to do anymore even though there are lots of things I could be doing, and I generally feel like they are avoiding me.

When I first started 10 weeks ago they used to give me little things to do here and there all the time but now that's completely stopped even though we are busier than ever. I worry it's because my work has been really bad, and they realised I cannot produce anything useful, but they haven't given me any feedback good or bad so I don't know what's going on.

I feel like I can't get anything right, and that I have been lying to everyone around me. I realise I must have huge impostor syndrome, but I also kind of don't see how I'm not just actually an impostor when I rely on ChatGPT to write all my code and I edge-cased into university through OU when I otherwise wouldn't have got this far. None of my "achievements" feel like my own, if there are any achievements at all.

I don't exactly know where I am going with this, I suppose I just feel like a huge fraud, and I'm not sure what I can do about it. It feels like a spiralling situation where my poor mental health is impacting my performance, which in turn is impacting my mental health and so on... I'm not sure how I can break this cycle. I have no support system besides my LDR boyfriend, my family is even worse in terms of mental health than I am, I have no friends, and the uni counsellor is complete ****.

Sidenote: this all has been impacting my relationship with my boyfriend as well, as understandably he's not sure how to handle me right now and it's causing a lot of tension between us, so now I avoid unloading on him too much so I don't ruin my relationship too, ruining my placement is enough as is.

I just feel like a little kid, I feel so lost, I am so tired, I don't want any of the responsibility I've been given at my placement anymore. I wish someone would just hold my hand and show me what to do and reassure me, it's all too much, I feel like I'm not cut out for it whatsoever. :frown:

Thank you if you read this monstrosity, I appreciate anyone who took the time to read about my stupid problems. <3

Please be nice if you reply :frown:

sorry, with no context, asking you to watch neon genesis Evangelion episode 26.

Shinji: I hate myself. But…but maybe…maybe I could love myself. Maybe my life could have a greater value. That’s right! I am no more or less than myself. I am me! I want to be myself! I want to continue existing in this world! My life is worth living here!

Congratulations!!!
Shinji: …Thank you…all…
Thank you to my father
Goodbye to my mother
And to all of the children…

Congratulations!

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