So, I don’t know if this is common among university students, but I imagine it is… Being surrounded day-in-day-out by countless high-achieving and intelligent people at university can be great but also extremely overwhelming when it comes to your own self-confidence. I’ve personally always struggled a little bit with self-confidence and so at university, it often feels like the best place to encourage yourself to take on new opportunities, but also, occasionally, a place where it might be tempting to bury your head in the sand and continuously tell yourself you’re not good enough to try.
Just over a year ago, I found out about the opportunity to blog for the University of Leicester about Study Abroad and Criminology… I thought it sounded great, but ultimately I convinced myself against bothering to apply. And then one day, I sat down, wrote my application, and expected to hear nothing back, and now here I am into my fifteenth month blogging. And I would never go back. That one moment of courage has given me a job which has hugely enhanced my experience of university as well as provided me with a great CV enhancer which I’m sure has and will affect applications for other opportunities.
And today I went for an interview to be a Pro Bono Legal Researcher for the Miscarriages of Justice Project. This is another opportunity which I have continuously allowed my self-confidence to convince me against trying for, but I’ve done my best to stick with it and see as far as I can get. For me, my interview today was absolutely terrifying, but the fact that I’ve put myself out there and tried is a bigger and more honest confidence booster than any compliment. When initially writing up my application, I even said that I hope I don’t get past the paper application stage so I don’t have to face the anxiety of the interview. Although my mind is still questioning every single thing I said in that interview and although I’d love to hear in a few days that I’ve been accepted, the fact I have gone through this process is huge to me. I like to think that I’ve learnt some new things about myself and about how to approach something like this in the future. And I’m slowly beginning to feel capable of escaping my shell and facing the world.
So my point is that thinking you’re not good enough is more of a reason to put yourself out there and see what you can do, rather than an excuse not to try… because I guarantee you’ll surprise yourself what you’re capable of. And it’s also not all about succeeding in the traditional sense. I don’t know whether my interview was good enough to be accepted as a Legal Researcher for the Miscarriages of Justice Project, but it’s something challenging that I put myself through, and that’s the part to be proud of. Going through the process itself is as much a part of seeing what you can do as whether or not you reach the ultimate goal.
This, of course, can be applied to every opportunity at university from volunteering to jobs to societies to studying abroad, as well as, of course, opportunities outside university, too.