Managing Self-Doubt in College
Being a college student is challenging, no matter where you are.
As a student of the automotive field, this is especially true. You've made some critical choices to get to where you are right now, and that comes with the pressure to succeed. This pressure might come from your friends and family, but usually, it's also the pressure that you put on yourself to pass your subjects and get good grades.
Fear and self-doubt are part of being a college student. Sometimes, you may feel a fear of failure. Other times, you may be experiencing doubt; doubt that you've chosen the right course of study for yourself or doubt that you'll even be able to complete it.
Understand this: fear and doubt are normal and healthy emotions that all people feel, and they can be managed well.
Look around, and you might see some of your peers who always seem confident and unbothered by pressure. Make no mistake: they are probably experiencing the same stress you are at some level, but everyone handles it differently.
Here, we'll look at a few ways to help you to manage any self-doubt that you may feel throughout your experience as a student in an automotive college, and how you might use it to your advantage.
First and foremost, you need to look at your personal definition and understanding of what 'doubt' is. Ask yourself, "What does this feeling of doubt mean to me?". Believe it or not, people tend to have very different interpretations of what doubt means to them.
Some people assume that doubt is a bad sign. They interpret doubt as a sign that they're on the wrong path, that they shouldn't be doing what they're doing. The assumption here is that if they were on the right track, 'doubt' would not exist. Even if they understand in their minds that this is untrue, their emotions might still tell them that what they're doing is wrong.
Here's a healthier way to look at doubt: doubt comes as a result of uncertainty. You feel doubtful because there are certain things you aren't sure about. This is normal and healthy, and would you like to know why? It's because doubt is a signal, it's telling you to look closer at what you're doing. Trust that instinct, and learn to use it to your advantage.
In other words, don't be afraid of doubt, learn to use it to guide you forward towards success!
Use doubt as a guide
The feeling of doubt can be very powerful if you use it to your advantage. Firstly, a little bit of doubt is healthy because it keeps you humble. No matter how high your grades or how well you perform in your practical lessons, having a little bit of doubt stops you from becoming too sure of yourself. Doubt keeps you humble by keeping your ego in check and reminding you that there's always something new to learn.
Having healthy self-doubt keeps you driven to keep learning and keep practising, keeping not only your mind sharp but your skills too. When you learn to keep your self-doubt at healthy levels, you're more open to honest feedback and criticism about your weaknesses. Once you've accepted your weaknesses, you'll know where to focus more energy and attention to turn them into strengths!
The process is more important than the end result
With a healthy dose of self-doubt, you'll pay closer attention to the process that you go through rather than the end result. For example, if you feel a little doubt about your grades, you should be paying closer attention to your process of learning each and every topic on your syllabus. If you're feeling doubtful about something practical, your doubt will help you stay driven to practice every step with high precision.
Understand this: healthy doubt is good because it drives you to check your own work, to evaluate each step you take so that you can continuously improve and catch your own mistakes before they happen. Doubt becomes dangerous only when it becomes too strong, and if you spend too much time visualizing failure.
Instead of spending time and energy visualizing failure or mistakes, spend that energy visualizing success!
Feelings like fear and doubt actually use up a lot of your personal energy. This energy is more useful to you when you use it to visualize yourself taking the right steps and performing well in college.
Practice visualizing yourself as a successful automotive student. Ask yourself, “What does success look like to me?”. As you do this, you’ll be able to work backwards and identify areas that you might feel doubtful about, which you can then pay extra attention to.
By investing more time visualizing yourself as a successful student, and keeping your doubt at healthy levels, you'll be able to use it to your advantage and be the best automotive college student you can be!