Tips for beating your inner demons

College is an important time in our lives and if there is one thing we want more than a proper education, it’s a lap full of that beautiful someone. Face it: We want to have as much fun as we possibly can while we are here even if we’re an academic stallion.

College is an important time in our lives and if there is one thing we want more than a proper education, it’s a lap full of that beautiful someone. Face it: We want to have as much fun as we possibly can while we are here even if we’re an academic stallion.

But when you don’t feel good about yourself, or if you’re nervous about how people are going to receive you, it can be a lot harder to have a good time. Nobody is immune to the crippling effects of personal insecurity.

We at the Vanguard want you to have fun, so we put together a set of tips and tricks to help you boost your self-esteem to its full capacity.

Remember not to get discouraged—all things improve with practice and being a social barracuda doesn’t happen overnight.

Be warned though, we can only show you the door. You must choose to go through. Be ready to break out of your comfort zone, young tiger.

How you look

Don’t let anyone fool you: How you look is important, and you should always care. You’re not giving into any corporate or social cliché by looking sharp. Dressing well is a great place to start with self-esteem issues. You should feel good about yourself whenever you look in the mirror.

A new look can help you feel like a different person. So try a change of pace and experiment with stuff you wouldn’t normally wear. When you shop for clothes, there are some great ways to find a new style that is in and fresh while still being very you.

Start with mainstream clothing outlets when looking for a complete wardrobe overhaul (e.g., Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie, Banana Republic).

Guys, consult a female friend initially. If you’re in short supply, hit up the bookstore and browse men’s fashion magazines—the Internet is also a good resource. Good fashion will up your supply of lady friends in no time.

Ladies, sales floors are crowded with people only too eager to help and they give great suggestions when you’re hunting for an outfit. Women’s fashion magazines will help too, and it never hurts to just ask a guy friend what he finds attractive about you and what he thinks you’d look good in.


A person can do wondrous things as long as they smell divine. This is not difficult to accomplish, yet is often overlooked. This is very important if you want to get a date or be dynamic at a party (even very drunk people appreciate fresh breath).

Hygiene goes beyond just smelling like excellence. You need to take the battle to your nose, fingernails, toenails, face and hair too.

Do these things:

– Shower every single morning, with shampoo and soap (or body wash).
– Use deodorant—guys, reach for the Old Spice; ladies, Dove is clean and subtle.
– Shave any hair growing between your eyebrows—pluck them if you’re more comfortable with that.
– Moustaches are for hipsters and gold miners. Unless you’re one of those, shave it.
– If you use body wash, don’t use cologne or perfume, as it’s easy to go overboard—guys should consider Azzaro Chrome and ladies with American Eagle’s Aerie fragrance is great (it’ll probably be the last perfume you’ll ever buy)
– Pick out or trim your nose hairs (this may hurt, so take your time)
– Wash your face each morning and evening with warm (not hot) water and a washcloth
– Style your hair—remember that even unkempt is a style!
– If nothing else, consult a professional stylist or even a style magazine

Hanging with a crowd

For some people, being with a group of people can be the most terrifying experience ever, especially if it’s a group of people they don’t know. What’s a little tiger to do? Try these tips when you’re out with the other cubs:

A little personality goes a long way, and people love a friendly newcomer. This is the most important thing to remember, as a smiling person gives off good vibes.

Keep cool
Stay calm, and remember that most people are actually quite friendly. If you get too nervous, politely say you have to get going—it’s better to seem friendly and distracted than like a nervous wreck.

Talking points
Let other people talk for a bit. That way, you can test the water and overhear what other people are into before joining in. Remember, it’s a bad idea to talk politics or religion amongst strangers. Once you join the conversation, be sure to stay relevant or at least sensible—random outbursts are not well received.

Going on a date

OK, little tigers, the time has come: You’re sharply dressed, smell nice and feeling as good as you look. It’s time to earn your stripes and make a play for the apple of your eye and ask them out.

Obviously, the first step is to just ask. To do this, you’re just going to have to take the bull by the horns, and believe it or not, most people are actually really polite when they reject you. The worst-case scenario is they say no—you have nothing to lose and plenty to gain. Notes were cute in middle school, but face-to-face dating is what works in college. Also, the Internet is cool, but don’t just approach someone for a date via Facebook or Twitter—that’s how stalkers work, and you’re looking for a date, not a restraining order.

Here’s a quick, easy guide to breaking the ice:

Step 1: Say a simple hello and don’t act turned on or haughty—and remember to smile! Then introduce yourself to feel out how interested they are. If they respond well, proceed.
Step 2: Ask if they want to get coffee or lunch sometime. There are plenty of comfortable, neutral places to meet up on campus. If this goes well, proceed.
Step 3: Exchange phone numbers or e-mail (texting is pro). Now you can think about Facebook and Twitter contact with them.

If one of these steps fails, keep your head and be polite about the rejection. You may try again later, or you may need to move on, young tiger—plenty of antelope on the plains.

Now that you have some pointers, get out there and date someone! You’ll be amazed at how soon your self-esteem rises and you’ll be well on your way to conquering insecurity forever. If you need more advice, write to us at [email protected]