Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

Imposter syndrome can serve as inspiration

Alongside my SJI peers, I had the privilege of listening to an enlightening lecture from renowned sports sociologist Scott Brooks, who teaches at Arizona State University. He shared a number of stories and lessons with us but one that stuck with me was the notion of Impostor Syndrome—meaning that you can feel as if you do not belong in a particular environment when in fact you do belong and can add valuable insight. That feeling, as he explained, may be coming from being “other-ized,” perhaps because of your background, race, sexuality or even religion.
It’s not unusual for me to walk into the office of the newspaper at Columbia and feel I don’t belong. Very few people of color join the paper, and I am one of few people of color to serve as an editor on the staff. What Brooks told our class was that not only was it normal to feel this, but that it was okay. You can feel you don’t have a place—but you also should let that motivate you to seek out the stories that take your own background into consideration for an angle or storyline you could approach.
Alongside my classmates, after we part and head to our internships, we will likely feel like impostors in a white, male-dominated field. But empowered by Brooks, we can continue to foster the mission of SJI. To consider that I can be a part of that is humbling, to say the least.
–Chris Lopez