Be Yourself

When I was in college (Go ‘Canes!), I signed up for a course that focused on entrepreneurism and the art of first impressions.

“People won’t remember you for what you looked like or how you dressed — they will remember you for what you taught them and how you made them feel.”

When the class noticed a young woman approach the lectern wearing a mustard-stained oversized sweatshirt from Yale, a grease-stained yellow skirt and a kernel of popcorn in her hair, we immediately thought she’d possibly stayed out partying a little too late (it was Rush Week, after all!). When she introduced herself as the professor and proclaimed class is now in session, our jaws hit the floor. One student in the back of the auditorium stood up and started clapping “Brilliant! Brilliant!” and we all chimed in shortly thereafter. As you may have already figured out, the woman at the lectern was the professor, purposely (and quite exaggeratedly, in hindsight!) dressed in a manner that no professor should ever show up looking like on the first day of class. We absolutely judged her book by its cover. Throughout the semester, we learned much more about how wardrobe, personality, friends, what car you drive, and which neighborhood you live in, gives others instant cues about who you are, where you’re going and what matters to you. The biggest lesson? Just be yourself!