I watched a TED Talks video, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are by Amy Cuddy, which spoke about feeling like you don’t belong somewhere. When I started Athabasca University I did not know how I would fare. I didn’t feel like I belonged, or knew what I was doing. So, for some reason this video spoke to me.
I still have not shaken the feeling of being in over my head. I still at times, feel like I don’t belong here. When I start a new course and read through the assignments?I usually have no idea what they are asking. I don’t know how I will write an essay on the subject, or otherwise complete the requirements. When this happens I, as the video says, fake it until I make it. I take one unit at a time, one assignment, and have faith that by the time I get to each assignment I will know what to do. Each unit prepares me for the assignments and before I know it I have completed a paper on something I did not understand only weeks prior. It can be hard to learn something new, something we have no prior knowledge about, but it is also very empowering to take that leap into the unknown and see yourself grow.
I thought this feeling of being in over my head would eventually go away. I thought that after a few courses I would feel like I belong, like I know what I am doing?but I don’t. I am nearing my first Directed Studies course, when I selected it as a “future” course I thought, “by the time I get there I will know what I am doing.” It seems the joke’s on me, I still don’t. So I started with small steps: getting course coordinator contact information and emailing them. I had what I believed was a vague concept for study. However, when I relayed that idea to the coordination they connected me to a supervisor, who thought it was a great idea! I had managed to “fake it” until I “made it.”
It is an odd concept, really, “faking it”. You can’t fake knowledge or interest. But, by allowing yourself the chance to put it out there, by faking confidence, you may realize you have more knowledge and interest than you thought. You may find out that you were not faking it at all. You are only psyching yourself out. As Cuddy says in the video, don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it.
Whether you are faking the confidence needed to take on a specific course or faking knowledge to complete a course, either way you are only using it as a way to move yourself forward. You have the ability to complete the assignments and create a course if you give yourself the freedom to do so: fake it until you become it.
Fake confidence until you no longer know the difference. Since watching the video that statement rings through my mind each time I am feeling like I don’t belong. Each time I feel like I am in over my head. It is oddly comforting to believe I am just “faking it,” it makes the risk of putting myself out there somehow lesser.
Cuddy, A. (2012). Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. TEDGlobal. TED Talks
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature