Oct 19, 2021
I want to share something that happened to me when I was at university. Something I think we often do, especially as women, is apologize for ourselves. I was at university overwhelmed by ‘imposter syndrome’ because I was already 40 when I studied Journalism in Columbia University. I felt like I didn't really belong, as a 40 year old going back to school after having been out of school for so long.
All of the people in my class have all been journalists at stations and networks and have won awards. I was there, and I didn't even know quite honestly how to use a camera in manual mode. I felt completely like a fish out of water, and I think that showed to this particular professor. His name was Professor David Klatell.
In this one particular class, he asked a question. And I remember thinking to myself, “I don't want to be the only one looking around the room,” and thinking that I don't want to be the one who's seen as the teacher’s pet. Professor Klatell could see that I wanted to respond, so he called me.
I said, “Well, I want to respond, but I want to give everybody else a chance.”
In that moment, he said, “Does everybody else have a tongue and can they speak? Can everybody else raise their hands if they have something to say? So what makes you think that you need to police them when they can speak or when they cannot speak? If they want to speak, they'll raise their hand and they will speak.”
He then said something that was so profound to me that has stayed with me.
He said, “Never, ever apologize for showing up fully as yourself. Never apologize and make yourself small to make other people feel comfortable. Never apologize for taking up space. Anytime you find yourself in a room that you want to be in, know that you belong there. It doesn't matter how you got in the room, the fact that you are in the room means you belong.”