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The Hilltop



By: Sasha Charlemagne, Staff Reporter

As a college student, you are already expected to have an idea of who you plan to become in the future, but seldom are you asked to provide an in depth analysis on who you are as an individual in the moment. Young adulthood forces us into a new area of self discovery that can easily slide into overwhelming territory. We are made to re-examine our purpose beyond student life. Are we innovators? Are we activists?

On Howard’s campus this already stressful idea is magnified. You are constantly surrounded by creatives, student leaders and brilliant academic bosses. All of whom have already established a distinctive voice on campus as well as an easily identifiable image. These carefully crafted images can go as far as a personalized logo or a flashy web design, but even the simplest acts of self branding are visible enough for your brain to make a quick connection between the individual and what they’ve chosen to represent. The ways in which we present ourselves have always been scrutinized, therefore the reclamation of self-image is empowering to many.

Personal branding can be helpful along your academic and professional careers as it provides a sense of purpose that forces you to maintain certain standards and develop goals in order to continue evolving your persona. Entering a new school year can be the perfect time to discover the person you would like to present yourself as and how to live as the best version of yourself. You may decide to hone in on your artistic talents and design your own webpage and logos. You may decide to run for a student leadership position and carry yourself in a manner you believe to be becoming of that sort of figurehead.

We live in an increasingly digital age and it is easy to create a snapshot of a person’s identity based on their media presence and branding skills. But these choices stretch far beyond the internet. Aesthetic and lifestyle choices that we associate with an individual can make them an unmistakable figure in our minds. The question then becomes, how does this impact the authenticity of our interpersonal experiences? We’ve heard the horror stories of people meeting social media influencers and online personalities only to discover that their internet persona’s were limited to the screen.

Does forcing yourself to adhere to the guidelines of your personal brand create a falsified sense of self that you cannot truly give to your peers around the clock?  It is important to be able to find balance between authenticity and fine tuning an image. Reinvent yourself as you see fit. Take the beginning of a new school year as an opportunity to discover a purpose. Remain true to that purpose not because it is a part of your brand, but because it is a part of you.

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