So imagine you have a camera or phone in the back of the class and no one notices you. You see the classroom filling up; it’s the first day. College students typically don’t walk around trying to associate with each other. Sometimes you know friends who might’ve been in a prior class. Other times you might just happen to meet people, strike up a conversation and connect. Best buddies for the entire semester! But the usual, unspoken procedure is the silent treatment; the class starts quietly evaluating, physically, attitude, energy. Then, she walks into the room.

She is stunning physically. No one says a word, but as the observer, you can feel all of the attention focused on the beautiful lady who just entered the classroom. She doesn’t know anyone either and, obviously, she’s used to the attention. So she doesn’t flinch. Quietly, she scans the room for a seat, finds it, and sits down. A hierarchy has just been established. Power has been given to the exquisite beauty within seconds.

But does she really want that kind of power? And does it benefit her to have that power solely because of her beauty?

When worked the right way, she can amass a large following of both men and women in the classroom, along with the professor. Using her physical gifts, she can create an allure so powerful it can influence her overall grade for the course, her exams, extra study time, having people do work for her, retaking tests, inching a C to a B, selecting the smartest students to work with for her benefit, the list goes on.

This social dynamic is clear, so she must make a choice: become respected just for her beauty or for her ability.

The data reveal the expansion of women college graduates and the increase in women who utilize their degrees in the professional world to establish their livelihood. It’s a wonderful elevation to witness. But all too often there is the temptation fall into the trap of getting by because of how she looks. You can read the many psychology articles on how good-looking people are given preferential treatment and assumed to be smarter, healthier and stronger in daily life.

Here, I propose women become more acquainted with being respected for their abilities and talents.

Here’s why:

Your looks will fade. You can prolong the effects of aging and age gracefully, but aging occurs nonetheless. Whether 45 or 450, the process takes its natural course and no amount of makeup will hide this fact. If you rely solely on your beauty to get you by, what will you do when you no longer have it?

Your intellect doesn’t have to fade. If you focus on building your mind as much as your beauty, you’ll manifest a higher level of respect from people around you, as well as instill a stronger sense of self-esteem. Beauty doesn’t become your crutch but a healthy gift given to you.

The college classroom, as is the entire campus, can be likened to a large simulation of the “real world.” It’s the optimal environment to create yourself and test the market for your ideas and initiatives. So you should use it as your place to grow and experiment. Thus, the physically attractive lady should experiment by:

1. Taking the lead to ask questions during discussions. Usually the first few people to respond in a new class set the tone for the rest of the entire semester. They’re the outspoken ones, the few who can take the courageous task of speaking up and about what’s on everyone’s minds. The beautiful woman who can ask questions of depth and complexity will quickly create a reputation for being taken seriously and known as a critical thinker.

2. Become the leader in the group projects. Of course this requires more of that courage to take chances. Keep your discussions professional, even among the other women. Don’t gossip. Don’t talk about your exes. Refrain from commentary that shows you only care about your looks. Don’t do your makeup in class. Be willing to accept the responsibility of leadership for the group and you’re on a path of being branded as a woman who can get the job done using her brains and drive.

3. Completing your assignments and strive for high marks. Give off the energy that you expect nothing less than your best and your classmates will recognize you have brains to go with your beauty.

4. Being willing to assist others in the class. This is more leadership practice for you than it is about being perceived as smart. Tutoring in this way gives you practice with how to deal with people in a professional manner without the undertones of enticing physical attraction.

Why is this concept important? If you plan on becoming someone of prominence in your field or even just a good professional, in an industry outside of modeling or others that rely strictly on beauty, hints of using your appearance to get what you want will eventually erode the true respect you actually desire. People will see you as an objectified persona, a shell without substance, only someone good to look at. This makes it easier for people to disrespect you. And because you are a woman of beauty and wisdom and intelligence, you should expect the highest respect, right?

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