In high school we are taught to “fit in.” That is easier said than done. You have to wear the right clothes and listen to the right music, be friends with the right people… The list goes on. Instead of wanting to fit that square peg into a round hold by filing away at the corners that make you who you are, think about how you can go outside the lines. It turns out that when everyone is the same there is no one unique to stand out.
The good news is that most of us at one time or another definitely didn’t fit in. We just have to remember what that felt like. Well pretty awful if it’s middle school or high school is what most would say. They only remember the frightened feelings of trying to hide who they are, and conform to expectations. It is those feeling that stop us from being happy outside of the mold. College students? Even then everyone has those uncomfortable feelings. The best kept secret? If we embraced what makes us unique, we would start to stand out for all the right reasons, without the temptation to hide.
Why is this so important? Colleges don’t want people who are all the same. Employers in search of the next rock star aren’t asking for one dimensional students with high grades but nothing else. They are looking for the you hiding underneath.
3 Ways to Stand Out
- Create a project unique to you: what is your passion? Is there an unmet need? It can come out your personal experiences, or just a hobby you’ve developed a passion for. One high school girl who has very poor eye sight created a reading program for blind high school students who don’t have access to teen books in brail.
- Start a new club: This can be formed with as few as 5 students. If you want a safe place to talk about how much you love My Little Pony, despite the fact that it is made for a far younger audience, create that place! There are like minded individuals just waiting for you to get the ball rolling. There are plenty of grants waiting for an enterprising student group to claim, and plenty more ideas waiting to be uncovered.
- Do something that really scares you and document it: In his book, Rejection Proof, Jia Jiang documented a crazy journey of trying to get rejected. Why would anyone want to go through that? He just wanted to become accustomed to getting back up after! The result? He found a new business helping others become rejection proof as well!
Being you is the best way to be visible to decision makers. Now go and share you with the world!
Share your unique stories with us; we love hearing from you!