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Squashing imposter syndrome

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Sabrina Thaler films a video for a broadcast package on the Chicago River/Lake Michigan boat tour. Photo by Desiree Luo

As soon as I arrived on Northwestern’s campus, I braced myself. Playing out potential conversations in my head, I settled on a worst-case scenario: I’d meet someone, reveal I hadn’t worked on a school newspaper before, and they’d decide I wasn’t worth their time. I was so overwhelmed with doubt that I convinced myself people could see it on my face – I wasn’t qualified.

I was wrestling with my own mind. I knew I was here for a reason, but I couldn’t help but walk into every lecture, look around and stack myself up against my peers, all of whom I was sure were leagues ahead of me in journalism experience.

During the first week of the program, several Cherubs and I holed up in Fisk Hall to craft ledes for a series of absurd news stories. As our instructors critiqued our drafts down to the word, we deliberated and compared notes, moving our swivel chairs into a huddle. It occurred to me that this program wasn’t “easy” for anyone, and my expectations shattered as quickly as they crystallized. People relied on me as much as they relied on each other, and I felt my anxiety slowly dwindling.

Until I arrived at Cherubs, I expected that I would be a complete outsider, isolated by my lack of experience. After these four weeks, though, I’m less inclined to let any “missing” line on my resume define my potential.

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