Last year, an opportunity came up for me to be involved in a design project. I would get to help create a custom notebook/reflection journal for an upcoming student leadership conference, working with graphic designers, coming up with content, having meetings, the whole shebang. It sounded SO COOL and I really really wanted to be a part of it – but I felt like I was completely the wrong person for the job.
I loved notebooks and I loved creating stuff and I was full of ideas, but I had no real experience and had trouble drawing more than stick figures (still do). The Facebook post advertising this opportunity made it sound like they wanted someone with a proper portfolio, which I didn’t have. I definitely didn’t have any knowledge of content creation. What if I didn’t know enough, or messed it up, or got kicked off the project for being horribly inadequate?
In some uncharacteristic burst of confidence, I decided to sign up anyway. For the next few months I worked hard on this project, in collaboration with some amazing people. I had so much fun, but the whole time I had a bad case of imposter syndrome. I felt like I’d tricked all of these people into thinking I was adequate, and qualified to do this. Sitting in meetings, I’d feel like I was faking it the whole time. As much as I was enjoying myself, I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there – like a kid sitting at a table of adults trying their best to fit in. Even when we’d finished creating the journal, and I was so happy with how it turned out, I still felt like a fraud. My photo and my name and a bio about me was inside the back cover, listing me as one of the creators, but that sense of ‘not good enough’ was still rooted in my brain.
One of my favourite quotes that I put into the journal didn’t resonate with me until much later:
‘we are more capable than we think’. Often people undervalue themselves and their abilities immensely, or talk themselves out of doing something because they think that they’re just not good enough. I’ve seen this especially in young people, who are stuck with the ‘I’m not good enough yet’ mentality. Newsflash: there’s always going to be someone better than you, and there’s always going to be more that you could learn before trying something new.
I guarantee you that I was not the most qualified person to design that notebook, but I did my absolute best, and I was excited about it, and I made it mine. It was not until well after I finished that something clicked, and I realised that I 100% deserved my place on that back cover. It’s unique because it was made with the help of my vision and my creativity and my ideas which is something no one else could have done, and I think that’s really cool. It’s something I never thought I was good enough to do – but I did it anyway, successfully, and I guess that makes me qualified.
Kate is a Year 12 student from Canterbury. She enjoys music, languages, sunny days, and a good book.