Knock Opportunity on its Door

By Romina Mahinpei • Schulich Leader at University of British Columbia
Summer 2021

Imposter syndrome - we’ve all felt it. We’ve all had moments where we doubted our skills, dismissed our accomplishments, or believed ourselves to be less competent than who our friends and family perceived us to be. In many cases, this feeling stops us from achieving success and other great things. It stops us from knocking opportunity on its door and prevents us from moving forward towards a more successful future. Nobody likes this feeling - not me, not you, not your neighbor next door. Nobody.

Now, you may be asking how you can get rid of this feeling. The solution is fairly simple - you ignore it. You tell yourself that the feeling is irrational because it is. As a society, we often look at our area of improvement as flaws, which then leads to this feeling of incompetence. But these “flaws” are actually some of our greatest friends as they allow us to embark on a journey filled with growth and development. So, instead of telling yourself that you’re incompetent, believe that you ARE competent and that you ARE capable of achieving great things. The fact that you are searching for your areas of improvement in order to grow and build new skills is a sign that you are indeed competent and capable.

Knowing this, be confident in your abilities and chase down new opportunities without a fear. Don’t wait for an opportunity to knock on your door but instead, knock opportunity on its door. This is a key step in the recipe to success and what I tried doing during my first year of university. I applied to all types of opportunities that interested me without taking a single moment to contemplate whether I was the “perfect fit” or not. Of course, many of these opportunities I did NOT get, but I didn’t wrongly associate this with me being incompetent. I didn’t let this stop me from knocking other opportunities on their doors. Thankfully, all this chasing enabled me to participate in UBC’s Undergraduate Research Program (REX) and work with a UBC math professor on a persona project and has currently allowed me to work as an undergraduate researcher at UBC’s Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (SBQMI). But, more importantly, even if I didn’t receive the few opportunities that I did from the many I applied to, I would never let this make me feel incompetent and neither should you. Believe that you are capable and component and keep knocking on those doors. One of those doors has YOUR name on it, so keep searching until you find it!