Wear a necklace made of broccoli for one day
Okay, I know this sounds strange, but stay with me as I try to explain this piece of advice.
When I was in elementary school, I found a book called Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days, written by Stephen Manes. As a pretty ambitious 3rd grader, I was intrigued.
The story is about a young boy named Milo who finds this book in a library and follows the directions to become a perfect person after a difficult day, made worse by criticisms from his family and classmates. I won’t give away all the book’s secrets – you can check it out in the juvenile fiction section of a library and hang out with some nine-year-olds for an afternoon. But one of the tips I will share is the author’s suggestion that in order to become a perfect person, you need to tie a piece of broccoli around your neck and wear it all day.
I was a little confused at first, too. In the story, Milo wears the broccoli to school and is relentlessly mocked by his peers. He endures it all day, then moves on to the next step in becoming a perfect person. The point behind wearing the broccoli necklace is that Milo wasn’t afraid to do something out of the ordinary. Even though it was risky, and he faced ridicule, he survived. Now, Milo knows that whatever he does in the future can’t be as embarrassing as wearing broccoli to school all day, and he feels empowered to explore his individuality and take more risks.
The moral of the story here, from my point of view, is not to go out wearing vegetables as accessories, or dye your hair blue, or drag race with your parents’ car. I think the message we should take away from this book is to feel comfortable being ourselves. Wear that broccoli necklace proudly and be confident in your decisions.
How is this story relevant to us as college students?
College is the time in our lives when we decide what kind of people we will become. It is a time to explore different experiences and to develop our core values and a personal mission statement. In order to really become your own person, you need to be brave enough to occasionally stray from what is expected and from what your friends are doing.
This can mean dressing up for class, asking more questions, going to a professor’s office hours, or staying after a club meeting to introduce yourself to the executive board. If you are willing to do what others are not, and go beyond what is expected of you, you will be treated exceptionally in return!
What will be your broccoli necklace, and will you be brave enough to wear it?