National Blog Posting Month – January 2014 – Pressure

Prompt – Do you still feel pressure of conform? If no, what age did it stop?


Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

I suppose I do still want to conform. The question is, what do I do about it?

Conformity is at some levels a very important part of being in a gregarious society. You want to fit in, at least in so much as by fitting in, you’ll be able to get assistance when or if you need it. You want to have friends. You want to be able to do the things you want to do, without getting sidewards stares or nasty comments.

So yeah. I more-or-less look and act like everyone else.

Only that I am different, and I know it.

I think I was in graduate school when I finally fully embraced that I wasn’t ever going to be totally like everyone else. I’m an academic. I’m fine with wearing last year’s styles (that I buy at the thrift store). I’m ok with those days when I accidentally go th the store with the most amazing bed-head you’ve ever seen.

I discovered as a graduate student that though I knew that fashions and fads were important aspects of fitting in, I just wasn’t as interested in them as I was in doing science-y things.

Now that I have my Ph.D., and have had it for a while, I’ve found that even though I don’t exactly fit in with the world at large, I do fit in sufficiently. And I have a little niche here that suits me perfectly.

On those odd days when I feel like I need to conform better, but I don’t know what that requires, I’m now surrounded by hundreds of 20-somethings who are happy to fill me in on the details.

But the thing I like about talking to my students about current trends is that they’re happy to share, but they don’t in any way treat me like I’m on the periphery of conformity. I’m eccentric, true. But they’re not bothered by my occasional bed-head.

So, am I conforming or not? I dunno. But for where I am now, I fit right in, no worries.

1 Comment

  1. Lynda Lippin says:

    Penny, as a former academic who now teaches Pilates and blogs, I understand your point about never quite fitting in. Teachers and researchers are a different breed.


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