"Tell Me About Yourself"
"Tell me about yourself."
It’s one of the most common questions that we receive whether it be in interviews, dates, or just in chance encounters with new people.
In the past I’ve answered this question as such:
"I’m a 5th year sociology and drama studies student at Glendon College and I’m very involved in the community working with student affairs, student recruitment, student government and the queer community."
Being a community member and leader is so integral to my identity, I focus on that when describing myself.
The other day, I overheard a high school student answer this question not by saying where they went to school, or what their part time job is, or even what their dream career was. But rather, they said “I’m someone who really values family.”
I was taken aback by this answer, because at first I thought to myself that he didn’t really answer the question, because that’s not how I would have answered the question. But then I realized that was a great way to answer the question because I (& the person who actually asked the question) actually learned something about this kid.
Values and personal narratives are both large focuses in my leadership style and in my own personal development. And yet, whenever people ask me to describe myself, I don’t talk about my values. I hadn’t really thought about who I was as a person outside of being a student or my job titles.
And it got me thinking. Who am I? If someone asked me to describe myself, without mentioning my jobs, what would I say?
An extrovert. I’m very aware of my almost-constant need to be surrounded by people. I also know that I am becoming more comfortable with being by myself, and I’m learning the value in solitude and alone time.
Ambitious. As long as I can remember I have always been a dreamer. Someone that has thought about what I want to accomplish in the future. And my dreams can be lofty at times. Perhaps, and probably, I won’t end up getting every different graduate degree I have saved in my bookmarks, but that need to always reach for the stars, is what drives me to do the best in all the work I do.
Striving for personal development. I want to become more fit. I want to be better at managing my money. I want to be a dedicated blogger. I want to be keep a tidy room. I want to be more well-read. I want to watch insightful documentaries. I want to learn more languages (and improve my French and Spanish). I want to develop as a person, and there will be missteps, that will lead me to doubt myself. Should I have had a bag of chips for dinner? Did I need to buy lunch today? Why am I re-watching Happy Endings instead of watching one of the documentaries I have in my to-watch list? Why can’t I overcome that fear of speaking Spanish to people?
And that’s okay. Self-doubt is a perfectly normal part of the human experience. But it’s what people do with that self-doubt. I could take that self-doubt and give up on my ambitions, and goals of personal development. Or I could pick myself up, and try again. (Much easier said than done.)
Now this reflection of who I am is temporary. If you ask me next year, tomorrow, or even an hour from now it might, and probably will be different. But now I know that if I’m ever feeling lost, overwhelmed, or over-stressed, I can just do some reflection, think about who I actually am, and that can help me work through my emotion and stress.
Who are you? Have you reflected recently on who you are as a person outside of being a student or your job title?