(Another #tbt post from my website - originally published February 13, 2019)
Imposter Syndrome: a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
I'm Pasta Syndrome: a thing I just made up that I have decided means shouting "I'M PASTA" and hoping nobody realizes you aren't. Deep in your heart you know you are indeed made of delicious starchy carbs.
BUT REALLY: how many of us, when starting something new, are afraid to:
Generally exist in that new space
Because we expect someone to shout: YOU CANT SIT WITH US. YOU DON'T EVEN GO HERE.
In my first life, I was a lawyer. (I mean, I am a lawyer, but I'm not practicing.) There are many brilliant attorneys who come from all walks of life who went to all kinds of schools. I've met attorneys from a ~very fancy~ school who were actually kind of useless when it came to the practicalities of being a trial lawyer. I've met attorneys from "bad" law schools were were brilliant and delightful to work with. And, of course, there are many lawyers in between. They all taught me that what someone is capable of doing now matters more than how they got there (though how they got there certainly colors other qualities and characteristics).
It's easy to feel like if you don't meet X standard that you don't belong and won't be taken seriously. Thinking this way doesn't help anyone and only really hurts you. Feeling this way can lead us to not pursue learning opportunities, not try new material, and not claim our space or our time because we're not "real" members of the community.
The beautiful thing about the internet is that there are so many resources available - both material and human - that can and will help you. A "community" is never really one uniform group. I've learned that there will always, always, be people who are in the same boat you are who are willing to help and will also appreciate the support in return. There are also people who were in your position before who want to help those who come after them. They are also an excellent resource.
To find these people, look at Twitter, Facebook, Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn, Dev.to, Slack - pretty much anywhere you can connect with others. It will require you to be open about where you are, which can feel scary, but it's so nice to find your people.
And remember - you are not an imposter. You are someone who is learning to do something new, who is working very hard, and who is making progress. Nobody was born knowing how to do this. Everyone had stupid questions and if they're going to pretend like they didn't, move on and find people who will admit it. Never be afraid to move on and find your people.
And if you want to shout I'M PASTAAAAA - you just rock on with your little carbohydrate-filled heart, you crazy noodle you.