I can still remember what I wore the first day of freshman year of college.
I was dead set on wearing an adorable fall outfit and I ignored the 90-something degree weather to sport my new flare jeans and long-sleeve top. I was sure that this super-cute outfit would impress everyone I met and make a great first impression – especially because I felt like I needed to cover up my body to make that impression.
My day started like most – I had my hair and makeup perfectly done and felt great leaving my dorm room. Within seconds, I was hit with the worst humidity I’ve ever felt. Immediately, my hair was a frizzy mess, my makeup melting, and sweat was dripping down my back.
By the end of the day, I was so hot and uncomfortable that I could have cared less about the impression I was making on everyone – I just wanted to jump in a pool of ice water.
We’ve all had these experiences – the ones where we go over the top to impress others.
The beginning of the school year can drum up a whole slew of feelings. Fear of not fitting in, feeling like we have something to prove, and insecurity are just a few. When these feelings arise, it’s easy to overcompensate.
We often worry so much about making a great impression on others that we forget to take care of ourselves first. My first day of freshman year was all about other people – it had nothing to do with myself. I let my insecurities take over and dictate wearing an uncomfortable outfit to make – what I thought would be – a good impression.
My advice for this school year?
(1) Stop worrying about what others think. Love and accept yourself where you are right now. Five pounds, new jeans, not even a makeover will make you better long-term – only you can do that.
(2) Be yourself. Always.
(3) Prioritize “me time”. Find something that makes you feel rejuvenated and do that thing at least one hour per week.
(4) Release the pressure to impress and prove yourself. You have nothing to prove.
(5) Don’t use your phone as a safety net. Resist the urge to be on it when you are alone or uncomfortable. Instead, look up, make eye contact, smile, be present.
(6) Say yes to one thing you wouldn’t have tried last year. Want to try debate? Write an article for the newspaper? Take ribbon dancing? Do it. Playing and trying things out will lead you to new interests and new people.
(7) Wear weather appropriate outfits even when you feel like you have something to cover up. Life is simply too short not too.
Credit // Author: Stacy Nadeau
Stacy Nadeau believes in people. She knows that when men and women feel their best, they have the confidence to become the best they can be. Learn more about her keynotes at campuspeak.com/nadeau.