Over the last couple of weeks, I don’t remember how many times I heard the sentence “I am rebranding,” or how many times I said that to myself. After seeing “The French Dispatch,” I decided to become a film person. After visiting the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, last week, I was sure that modern art would be my new thing. One of my friends’ rebrand was to become a long distance runner. The other one decided to make her vibe more “camp.” The list of new things that we want to adopt or become more passionate about is simply endless. 

Rebranding oneself is not a new concept though. In a week or two, we will start hearing about the New Year’s resolutions. New promises that many of us talk about constantly in the weeks leading to the new year, yet also end up breaking very soon afterwards. As a firm non-believer in such resolutions, I then couldn’t help but wonder what was the true appeal of “rebranding.” Unlike resolutions, rebranding usually ends up being more about how we are perceived by others and how we can change or improve their perception of us, instead of our true desire to invest in ourselves. 

But is there even a difference between the two? Becoming a film person, for instance, meant that I would see more quality movies and improve my understanding of their aesthetic, script, director’s choices, etc. It also meant, however, that people would deem me sophisticated enough to ask for movie recommendations, value my opinion in their artsy discussions or even just think that I had a “cool” vibe. In the midst of all these considerations, one’s motives for rebranding become rather elusive. In our daily lives, how we portray ourselves almost always becomes entangled with who we truly are or who we want to be. However, changing others’ perception of us, for some reason, feels much more doable and liberating.

On a larger scale, our transition from high school to college is yet another rebrand. A painful one, for sure, as our high school selves’ desired rebrand clashes with that of our college selves, dragging the remnants of our true personality. As I am about to finish my third semester here, I can somewhat confidently say that those remnants still remain pretty much intact, yet the degree to which we choose to share them with the rest of the world changes significantly. A true rebrand is not necessarily “I will no longer worry,” but instead “I will go out and have fun despite my worries.” The difference is subtle, yet still undeniably there. 

Rebranding is not necessarily particular to Yale students, but I wonder whether we are more prone to do so. An Economics professor once said in his class that an average Yale student was 20 percent more evil compared to an average person. Guessing the reasons behind this is not necessarily hard, as our relatively more competitive side and the desire to achieve big things can easily test our morals in certain situations. Do such statistics exist for hyper awareness of ourselves, or more accurately, others’ perception of us then? One could argue that the same factors that make us more evil can also make us more willing to rebrand. If so, are we also more likely to remain loyal to our rebrands or is the lifetime of rebrands pretty much the same for everyone?  

These questions are not easy to answer; in fact, I am not sure if we can answer them with certainty at all. But contemplating them can be vital for our much-needed understanding of ourselves. At the end of the day, it is us who decide to rebrand. It is us who believe that the way we portray ourselves is not good, fun or interesting enough. But it should also be us who we celebrate the most, who we accept unconditionally, regardless of our flaws. Declaring a constant state of “rebrand in progress” is much easier than coming to terms with ourselves. But it is the latter that we will remain loyal to the longest; it is the latter that does not have an expiration date. 

SUDE YENILMEZ is a sophomore in Berkeley College. Her column, ‘Piecing Together,’ runs every other Thursday. Contact her at sude.yenilmez@yale.edu.