Last week at work I was involved in a photo shoot on campus… of students. Campus looks the best during the summer, and no one is there because, well, everyone goes home. My department organizes those photo shoots, and I was offered up as an option for an extra “student” because I look like I’m a college senior.
When I first started at my job and interacted in person with people who didn’t know me previously, they thought I was a student. Granted, I do look really young, but I’m a little too dressed up to be a student, ya know? I normally have on either colored pixie pants or a dress. (I never left my apartment in college, though, in sweatpants unless I was going to the gym. I never wore sweats to class. A hoodie and leggings? Yes.)
This is something that’s annoyed me since I turned 21. Everyone keeps telling me that I’ll love it when I’m older and I get carded because they don’t believe I’m my age. But I want to be taken seriously, and it’s hard when people think you’re younger than you are based on how you look. I have no control over my height or stature or chubby cheeks.
I used to get nervous when I went to the bar senior year and shortly after graduating because I knew I was 21 or 22 and my license was real but felt like I wouldn’t get let in.
I typically have issues with this at the ice cream shop when we’re about to close for the season. People ask us what we do in the winter—are we supposed to hibernate until the shop opens again in February?—and the last few seasons, when I’ve been asked, I say that I work full time during the week and this is my weekend gig. And they’re always shocked when I tell them I’m 23 or 24 or whatever. Yes, I know I’m in a sweatshirt with my hair up and no make up but at least give me some credit. I have a life outside of here.
Someone my mom knew from work though I was in high school or just turned 18. Boy was she surprised when I told her I have a Master’s and I’m 24.
So for the photo shoot, they gathered actual students from different areas on campus. They were either student-workers for the summer or the orientation leaders. I was in the afternoon group, and apparently our goal of having me look like a student worked. I wore a University t-shirt, jeans, and Sperry’s and brought in one of my backpacks. During the photos, we had to pretend to talk, and with one of the students, she was shocked when she found out I’m 25. And another asked me what I’m studying, and I had to break the news to her.
After the photo shoot, I went back to the office and one of my co-workers jokingly asked why I wasn’t in class since I still had my backpack with me. The funny part is that earlier in the semester I was in another photo shoot in a classroom as a “student”. We’ll use these pictures in print materials, on the website, and on social media, and the pictures from the campus shoot came out pretty good. I’m in a few of the ones that made the final cut, walking around campus with my backpack, pretending I’m going to class or grabbing lunch with a friend.
Do you have a baby face? Or do you actually look your age?