Being more formal in an informal world

I’ve never been much for title’s.  Dr., Mrs., Ms., Mr., Ph.D., M.D., M.B.A., O.M.G. But titles are often viewed as a sign of respect and the fact that you’ve earned.  When I was teaching, my students called me Ms…..and now that I’m on faculty again, I’m not sure of what to have the students (or anyone) address me as.  It’s an odd paradigm.  I’m surrounded by other folks who’ve earned the same degree and the custom varies.

With age, many of my colleagues look more like doctors.  What does a doctor look like?  I honestly have no idea.  But I know that I don’t fit the physical mold.  Why?

  • I look too young.  I will own my age, but thankfully, I don’t quite look like my age (*yet*). This point also goes into things like stereotypes and other thoughts that I don’t wish to expand on just yet.
  • I just finished my degree.  I’m still having a hard time with my own comfort in this new skin.
  • I’m around all sorts of folks all day: from undergrads, to grad students, to teachers, to other faculty, to support staff….I prefer my first name, but then realized that some, like the undergrads, may perceive this as too friendly or informal.
  • Society still has issues with formalities and it’s getting worse.  I also don’t want anyone to turn their nose at me just because I chose to pursue my education.  Does being perceived as ‘equal’ in some circles mean I’m going to have to sacrifice ‘showing my education?’ shucks!

So, I’m still left with the question…..What do other new faculty do?

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