First Year Problems #11

Feelings of inadequacy

Hello all and welcome back to First Year Problems; it’s been a while again. This week, we’re discussing feelings of inadequacy, which are all too common at university.

Feelings of inadequacy at university often happen in first year, and I’ve heard a few people discussing them recently, which has made me think. While at a formal dinner the other day (I know, how ridiculous posh universities like Durham are), we were talking about how it feels to not be the smartest person in the room anymore, as a few of us had been in secondary school. Some people had let this fact (or perception, as, to be honest, intelligence is far too difficult to measure in any worthy way) make them feel pretty insecure about themselves, which made me feel quite sad.

When you head off to university, everything is different, including the people there. Some of them will have had access to the most amazing educational opportunities simply down to a birth lottery, and some of us have had to slave away from the age of 12 to reach the point where getting to a good university is possible for us. Some of us appear to be incredibly intelligent, and some of those people are truly brilliant.

Image result for intelligence

But you can’t let having others better than you make you feel inadequate. You can’t put yourself down just because there are more intelligent people than you. At the end of the day, there’s so much more to people than just how clever they are. Some people may be brainy and end up doing a PhD, some of us might be far more emotionally mature and intelligent, and some of us may have the best kind of personality which gives us things intelligence could never. Everyone is unique and we all have our own strengths.

If anything, not being the most intelligent person in the room now should perhaps make you want to relax a bit more about things. No more do you have that pressure, and no more do you have to care intensely about pleasing people like that. It’s a relief.