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Chapter 11. Customizing Your Presentation > The Power of Customization

The Power of Customization

On my very first day as an undergraduate at New York University, I attended the orientation session for incoming freshmen in a state of suspended animation. I had left behind the camaraderie and the cinder-block walls of a New York City public high school, and now, alone and apart from my close friends of four years, I entered the marble halls of NYU's Gould Memorial Chapel. I was a solitary speck in a sea of strangers, all of us intimidated by our imposing surroundings and further humbled by our requisite freshmen headdress: bright violet beanies.

My awe was heightened when I saw an array of austere deans and professors in their black gowns, seated on the stage, looking down at us lowly frosh. As each of these august sages stood in turn to address us, their stentorian tones and crisp articulation echoing off the domed ceiling of the chapel, I recalled how differently my high school teachers had spoken, with the strident twang and staccato pace of a hardcore New York accent. I was still in the same city, but I might as well have been at Oxford or Cambridge.


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