I was recently asked what advice I would give new college students, and it is this: Focus on doing things, not on whether you feel or look confident doing them.
Contrary to popular belief, confidence is NOT the essential first step to being successful or happy. (Confidence may be correlated with success and happiness but that doesn’t mean it causes them.) Moreover, feeling a need to make everything look easy is probably the biggest thing holding today’s college students back! Struggle IS real. Anyone pretending to have accomplished everything without struggling is not real.
Instead of trying to project confidence, keep challenging yourself to learn to do difficult things, ask for assistance when needed, and persevere with struggling until it gets better. The experiences and skills you’ll get in the process will make you feel more confident eventually — and they’ll be worth so much more than a fake smile.