Quiet Revolutionary Stephanie Lam’s Story

When I was a junior in high school, I met the love of my life. People said that I was too young to know what love felt like, but I ignored them. I knew that I had found the one for me, the one that I would love for the rest of my life: journalism.

However, I quickly found out that good journalists were expected to think and act a certain way: journalists were expected to be extroverts. They were supposed to be outgoing, talkative, and willing to be the center of attention.

I realized that I didn’t have these qualities, and to be frank, they were qualities that I didn’t really want to have. I was an introvert. I didn’t have conversations with strangers, I didn’t like asking for what I wanted, I didn’t even speak at normal hearing volume.

I began to think that my introverted personality hindered my growth as a journalist. For example, I feared the idea of talking to strangers, and always pushed off talking to them until the very last minute. I never looked forward to my daily checkups with my editors, who would ask, “Did you interview all your sources? Why couldn’t you get your story up sooner? What was taking you so long? I tried to come up with reasonable excuses, but in the end, all I wanted to do was cover my ears and scream to them (quietly), “I JUST COULDN’T DO IT.”

After many late deadlines and angry confrontations with my editors, I soon realized that my negativity and put downs about myself weren’t going to get me anywhere. Acknowledging what I thought were my “flaws” wasn’t going to make me a better journalist.

Accepting my so-called flaws and figuring out a way to deal with them would.

Slowly, I began to accept that I was going to be an introverted journalist. I began to accept that I sometimes needed others to help speak up for me and needed more time to do interviews and contribute to group discussions. As I grew to accept this, I realized that being an introverted journalist wasn’t a bad thing. In those rare moments when I sacrificed my personal comfort in order to get a story done, I became more dedicated and devoted to my work. The ability to be alone allowed me to finish my work faster. Choosing to speak up only when I believed it would benefit a story or story idea made what I said more meaningful, and people paidmore attention to it.

There are still many moments when I let my shyness stop me from getting that last source, or let my passivity stop me from being assigned a story. There are still many moments when I get angry at myself for being myself. But in the end, I knew that being an introvert isn’t my weakness. It’s an identifying feature that makes me who I am. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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