Do you get always get cold feet before a college exam? Are you threatened when the front-row student seems to know all the answers in class? Have you backed out of college debates because you are scared you will freeze on stage?
The feeling of not being good enough is quite common among students. But, it can impact your self-confidence in a big way. The only way to change yourself is to realize when you need help. Fortunately, there are things you can do and skills you can develop over time that will boost your self-confidence.
Here is a list of things you can do to make a difference:
- Ignore that little voice inside your head: You will find that there’s a little voice that keeps whispering negative things in your mind from time to time. These messages can bring down your self-worth, making you feel like a failure. You need to shut down that voice and remind yourself of your past achievements. Remember, if you weren’t good enough, the college wouldn’t have admitted you in the first place.
- Remember that there will be others like you: It’s important to realize that you aren’t alone in feeling this way. Studies have shown that a big chunk of college students tend to feel inadequate after the first semester. Doubting oneself is common and most of your batchmates will be experiencing this too. So, stop blaming yourself for this weakness and work on overcoming it and helping others do the same.
- Set achievable goals: When you set realistic goals, it’s possible to achieve them. Whether it is landing an internship or passing a challenging exam, you need to work towards a goal. That will keep you focused and motivated; when you achieve the goal, you gain confidence in your ability.
- Focus on your strengths: An easy trick to building self-confidence is to take up something that you are good at every semester. When your coursework is difficult and you are continuously struggling to cope with it, you need something that will give you the extra push to keep working hard.
- Start with small steps: Instead of looking for quick-fix solutions to a big problem, start with small steps to eliminate your fears. Don’t hesitate to approach the professors, for instance, for help if you cannot follow something during class lectures. When you open up a channel of communication with your teachers, you can get much-needed support and confidence.
- Dress for success: This might sound rather superficial, but how you carry yourself can impact your self-worth in a big way. Wear clothes that reflect your personality and make you feel good. When you make an effort to dress up well, and it pays off when others notice you and are impressed by it, you automatically start feeling confident in yourself.
- Split a big task into small pieces: When you try and manage a big task all at once, it can feel intimidating. However, if you were to divide it into small, manageable sections, you can get it done faster than you thought. When you are able to complete small tasks on time, you start feeling confident enough to finish the rest of the tasks.
- Pamper yourself: If you take proper care of your body and mind, your stress levels are bound to come down. Exercise regularly and eat well to nourish yourself physically and mentally. When you pamper yourself and invest in self-care, you start feeling content and gain confidence.
Feeling under-confident or doubting oneself isn’t unnatural or wrong. It is alright to experience feelings of uncertainty once in a while, but you need to make sure these are not holding you back from giving your best. Practise self-compassion and be kind to yourself. Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes; it’s more important to look at the progress one has made instead of dwelling on the mistakes and setbacks.
You must understand that learning will always be a process; you cannot expect results overnight. If you have unreasonably high expectations, you are only setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Learn to appreciate what you have achieved so far and you will not question your self-worth again.