Well, the first week of junior year has come and gone (I know, SCAD started super late). You know what’s kind of the worst during the first week of classes? Making friends. Ugh.
I’ll give you a little low-down on the fashion marketing department at SCAD: Everyone is extremely competitive. Girls (and a couple guys) get all done up for class, walking around carrying their designers bags, strutting around in their designer shoes, looking like they’re about to have lunch with Anna Wintour. They keep to themselves and their “clique”. They like to seem unapproachable because that makes them look better, more powerful. Being friendly isn’t exactly their thing.
You can see my struggle being in that major, because while I love the major and all of the work we do, I don’t fit in with the fashion marketing type. I love making friends. I’m not competitive. I want everyone to succeed. I love building people up. And my favorite pair of shoes are from Kohls for $9 (mentioned in a previous post).
I had a bit of a dilemma started back, getting back into the SCAD lifestyle. It would be easy to change my personality to fit the rest of the girls in my major. I could give dirty looks in the hallway, and only talk to my close friends. But that’s not who I am. I don’t think I or anybody else should have to change who they are in order to “fit in” or make friends.
So here are some tips I’ve tried out during the dreaded first week of trying to break the boundaries of prestigious fashion marketing girls.
- Smile. You’d be surprised how refreshing it is to have someone smile at you in a genuine way. Smiling shows that you are open for conversation and easily approachable (God forbid a fashion marketing student be approachable).
- Start conversations. I know this seems like a given, but it’s really scary starting conversations with meanish-looking strangers. I’ve found that talking about class assignments or the professor is a good starter. Start out on even playing ground, talking about something you can both relate to.
- Bring Oreos to class. Okay, this one was unintentional. I was running late and didn’t have time to pack a lunch, so I grabbed a box of Oreos and stuck them in my bag. Once I got hungry during class, I whipped them out, and got mega attention. People thought it was funny/endearing/cool that I would bring a box of Oreos to class. I started offering them around to girls who usually eat salads and Acai bowls, and with that came conversation and friendly faces. I mean, how would you not be happy after eating an Oreo?
- Be nice. This one seems simple, but in a room full of competitive, beautiful women, it’s easy to extort to a resting bitch face to make yourself look like you aren’t threatened or figuring things out, like you aren’t human. News flash: we’re all humans and we should act like it. Be nice to your classmates, even if they don’t treat you the same way. Being nice to people will get you a whole lot further than a mean face and a bad attitude.
I’m still figuring out this whole break-the-barriers-of-uninterested-fashion-marketing-girls. But what I’ve found thus far is to be true to yourself. Don’t change to fit a stereotype. I might be one of the only fashion marketing girls who wants to genuinely be nice to everyone and wants everyone to succeed, but that’s okay. I’ll make it work, even if that means buying a box of Oreos every week (which let’s be honest, I already do that).
Making friends in a competitive atmosphere is hard, whether that be at school or at work. My encouragement for both you and myself is to not get discouraged. Continue to be truly yourself, and people will find your authenticity refreshing. Who you are is pretty neat, don’t let the world change that.