It was my turn to “pitch” myself — who I am and why I am valuable. I had rehearsed in my head what I would say, but none of the words seemed to properly capture what I wanted to convey. I should have prepared more. I spoke for probably one minute about myself, and I forgot to mention some key skills.
As the rest of the class continued and stated all their accomplishments, their experiences and why they were qualified to do this or that, I began to feel my self-esteem plummet and my insecurity soar. How did these people who were all my year or one year above me seem to have so much experience? Were they overselling themselves or were they really this confident in their professional skills? Why didn’t I have any experience in social media campaigning? Why didn’t I apply for an internship last summer? All these doubts consumed my thoughts as I let myself begin to believe I was inadequate, inexperienced and unprepared.
As college goes on, it is easy to start playing the comparison game. Once you start having classes with all the same people each semester and becoming more focused on your future career, the feeling of inadequacy can easily creep in and stick around.
Just a couple weeks ago, I was talking to some friends about this topic. I mentioned how during this semester especially I began to feel as though everything I have done for my career up until now was practically inconsequential. My friends, who were both in different majors, said they had felt the same way.
They said they too had fallen into the trap of comparing themselves to peers, professionally and even personally. Having this conversation with them encouraged me, as God had been doing all semester, that I am not the only one who feels this way — that my strengths are good enough and perfectly tailored to help me complete the purpose God has for my life.
In college, we find ourselves immersed in this culture of being encouraged to do it all. We’re told to pick the right major, get the right internships and make the best grades for four formative years of early adulthood.
Well-meaning professors encourage us with stories of those who have succeeded in their careers through hard work and sacrifice, and while these stories can be encouraging, they can also make us feel like we’re not doing enough.
I know that some of you really believe you are not enough or are not doing enough because I believed that too, but so many times God has shown me that I am right on track. What I’m doing is good; it’s enough. It’s OK not to be the best or do everything.
You are enough just the way you are. Your worth is not determined by your accomplishments, but by Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the cross long ago. You have specific talents for a reason. You don’t need to be the best in your field to have a fulfilling life or be perfect for God to use you.
I will stop allowing the feeling of inadequacy to consume me. I will take things at a healthy pace and trust that God will complete the good work he began in me whether or not I get an internship this summer. His plans are still to prosper, and he’s not forgotten us.