This is what a professor looks like!
Updated: Jul 20
If I were given a dollar every time someone said to me “You don’t look like a professor”, I’d probably have a million dollars (ok that’s exaggerating, maybe a couple hundred bucks 😂).
If you knew the amount of disrespect I have received from individuals, both young and old, the last 8 years I’ve been in higher education, you’d be disgusted. Disrespect that I know is completely based off of the way I look (and sometimes even my ‘too friendly and bubbly’ personality 🤷🏼♀️). .
So for a while I thought that if I ‘looked’ and ‘acted’ the part, it would change. If I were less friendly and passionate...if I wore loose suits and my hair in a bun...maybe people would respect me more. Well what I learned is that they didn’t. It stayed the same because the disrespect was based off of things I could never change about myself...my skin color, my age, my gender, my personality...so I realized, that was their problem, not mine. And the people that genuinely respected me, didn’t respect me based off of what I wore or how I acted or how I looked. They respected me as a person because of who I was inside. .
So now I come as I am and I wear what makes me feel confident and comfortable.
Sometimes that means a full blown suit and sometimes that means jeans and a T-shirt. And when someone says “You don’t look like a professor” I respond and say “You’re right. I probably don’t look like any of the professors you’ve seen before so I’m glad you’ve had the pleasure of meeting me 😊. Hi, I’m Professor Knight.”
It’s time for us to stop trying to fit into society and time for society to expand their minds on what success and intelligence look like. By trying to change ourselves to fit in, we’re only perpetuating the problem.