It feels like just yesterday we were saying our goodbyes and planning that three month break we were all waiting for. Now the weather is a bit cooler, the shorts are a little longer and sleep is about to become your best friend.
Fall semester can be especially daunting to freshmen. You’re in a new place full of new people. You want to look your best, but you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. The first couple weeks of classes feel like a blur and slowly but surely you feel yourself changing. You’re not that 12th grader anymore. Your mom doesn’t wake you up every morning. You’re going to sleep when you want, the parties are great and you’re just living life.
But soon it becomes a routine. Your classes don’t feel so easy anymore, the professor you thought was awesome just assigned a seven-page paper. You fell asleep after waiting an hour at the financial aid office. Your roommate won’t stop pressing the snooze button. Welcome to college.
All of this chaos makes it easy to forget about your appearance. That hoodie and sweatpants that you threw on to go to your 8 a.m. Monday morning turns into, ‘Oh, I’ll just wear these yoga pants’ Tuesday, ‘Where are my black leggings?’ Wednesday and ‘That T-shirt from 8th grade summer camp isn’t so bad’ Thursday and—well, you see what’s happening. Lounging clothes have become everyday clothes, while your used-to-be favorite maxi dress collects dust in your closet.
Your life is quickly turning upside down. You find yourself asking questions you thought you would never ask: Where did these bags under my eyes come from? Is it bad that I can’t remember if I showered today? What happened last night?
The pressure can become quickly overwhelming. Our appearances and minds suffer simultaneously. I’ve found that looking my best makes me feel good, even if I’m terribly tired. Of course it’s OK to reach for those yoga pants once in a while, but wearing them everyday is ill-advised.
You can still look great without trying too hard. Just a T-shirt and jeans can be dressed up with a big necklace or a pop of color. Statement shoes can always turn an outfit from plain to quirky. Finding a good handbag instead of a bulky backpack makes a world of difference when you get to class late and have to squeeze through a row of people to find a seat. Stores like Buffalo Exchange and Second Time Around offer you some slightly used, but otherwise useful pieces for less than $20.
Doing these small things to keep up your appearance not only helps you look great, but feel great as well.
Melonee Rembert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.