“We need to get to know each other a little better. So, we’re going to play a game, alright?” the professor said. “You have thirty seconds to learn as many names as you can. Introduce yourself with your name and your home state. Go.”
When thirty seconds had passed, he asked, “How many of you met at least five people?” The majority of the room raised their hands. “Good. How many of you remember at least three names?” Most hands remained in the air. “Good, good.”
He continued, “Now we’re going to get a little more complicated with this. Alright. Using the first and last letters of your first name, you’re going to make a new name. My name is Mark, so I’ll use MK. The first letter is… an adjective that describes you. I’m going to make it Moody. The last letter is… let’s go a noun. I’m going to pick… Klingon, because I can. So that’s my new name. You’ll have a little more time to introduce yourself, but when you do, use a voice that is not your usual one. Like this.” He grabbed a balloon, made a small hole in it, and after sucking some of the helium out of it, said (in a very high-pitched voice), “My name is Moody Klingon.” Everyone laughed, and the game began.
When the allotted time had passed, the professor stopped the laughing students and asked, “How many of you remember at least three names now?” Across the room, only a few hands went up. “Do you know why that is?” he asked. The students shook their heads. “I’ll tell you; this has a real-life application to it. You were so focused on your own new identity that you couldn’t pay any attention to the people around you. Would you agree?” Everyone nodded. The professor continued, “When you start college, or when you enter any new environment, as a matter of fact, your first instinct is to try to reinvent yourself. It’s what everyone tells you to do. ‘New place, new you.’ But you don’t have to do that. In fact, don’t. Who you are is good. Who you are, who God made you, is incredible. You don’t have to be anyone else. Just be yourself. You’ll have a better time, and you’ll be able to more easily look outside of yourself and get to know other people. You’re dismissed.”