I was just weeks away from starting my freshman year at Stanford when I thought to myself, “How will I blend in? I am going to be a 23-year-old freshman and I want to make friends.” So I came up with a simple strategy – high-waisted jeans, cropped Brandy Melville top, sneakers, and a choker. Done. I’m 18 again.
School started, and luckily the strategy worked. Most people initially thought I had only taken a gap year, although I took like six gap years. But still, I made friends and I fit right in.
By spring quarter, I was pretty much settled into my new life. I found amazing friends, I joined student organizations, I figured out what I am majoring in, I joined a sorority, and I had an idea of what I would be doing over the summer. But there was something missing. I wasn’t my true self.
With everything that I was doing - from being a part of different clubs on campus, to working part-time for a VC firm, to taking 19 units winter quarter - I couldn’t find time for my true passion: Fashion. Since fashion was not part of my 10-year plan, there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
So, I took matters into my own hands and came up with an immediate solution. I began dressing more like I would dress anywhere else, as if I were no longer on campus. As if the age gap were no longer an issue, and blending in were no longer a goal. I felt good. I felt more complete. I was back to my roots. I turned campus into my own runway.
People began to notice. I was getting compliments on different looks or pieces of clothing, which was great, but that was only ON campus, INSIDE the bubble. Off campus, many people were surprised when they heard I go to Stanford, let alone majoring in Symbolic Systems, a Bachelor of Science program that includes computer science classes.
Coming from the Stanford bubble I thought all the feminist talk was overrated and that the problem is not that big of a deal anymore – we are in the 21st century, right? But that bubble burst in my face after I was treated several times as a mere accessory. Even when people knew I went to Stanford it was not enough. I was still just an accessory. After all, how can a young woman be geek and chic at the same time? Well, fellows... She can. And she will.
Any woman should be able to express herself and dress the way she desires and still be treated with respect for who she is and what she has accomplished. Whether it’s a cute flirty skirt or a masculine pair of slacks, we should not need to be afraid to be who we are and fear of not being credited for our talents and achievements. We should not need to prove ourselves or change anything about ourselves so that we are treated with the same respect as men. Sounds cliché, right? It is. But unfortunately, it’s a cliché we must keep repeating until we overcome the stereotypes and glass ceiling.
I decided to combine my desire to fight with my passion for fashion. So here we are. I will be sharing my thoughts, experiences, and love for design here and on my Instagram and Facebook pages @geekyetchic.