This week’s activity is very different from the rest, thus far. We are required to dress up and present ourselves in a different way. I chose to dress more formal. Usually I wear a shirt and some jeans with Nike’s. On Thursday, however, I came to school wearing a dress shirt, nicer pants, dress shoes, and changed my hair a bit. I carpool with my friend in the morning and when he saw me he said that I reminded him of either “a nerdy geek” or “someone well-off that works on technology.” I thought that was interesting because even his view of me changed based on my appearance. Once I came to school, the difference in the way people saw me and treated me was a bit fascinating. People seemed to be friendlier and smiled as I passed by. It was as though dressing nicer made people take you more seriously and notice you.
The next step of this activity was to have a conversation with a stranger and ask them what their impression of you is. I went to a crowded area on campus and went up to the first person I saw, Vanessa Hernandez. I asked her for a few minutes of her time and asked her a couple questions. I asked what she thought my name was and she smiled and said she had no idea. Then, I asked her what she thought my major was and she guessed that I was a math major. Her explanation was that I just seemed like the type that would be a math major. I also asked what her first impression of me was. She said that I seemed to be a polite and proper person. My more formal appearance made me look more put together and well-off. It was an interesting conversation and gave me some insight on the different ways your appearance changes people’s perception of you.
I interviewed another person named Claudia. Claudia was an art major and she was willing to answer a few of my questions, as well. Once again, I asked her what she thought my major was. It took her a while to come up with what major she would place me in. She concluded that I might be a business major because of my appearance. She said that the way I presented myself and came up to her was very professional. At first, she thought I was going to survey her for some sort of school related group or questionnaire. The similar responses I got from both the people I interviewed was interesting.
I found that appearances make an impact on others’ perceptions. In my communications class, we studied perceptions and how they influence others. This activity was somewhat an experiment and related to what I learned in that class. It also gave me a chance to talk to people that I would not have talked to normally. I probably would never have met these people without this activity. I am typically a shy person and don’t like initiating conversations with strangers. I had to come out of my shell and experience a different mindset in order to talk to strangers and ask them questions. In the end, it was a fun activity and I enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone for a day.