The Ursuline Chronicle

Worth the Risk? Wearing College Gear before May 1st

Meggie Goodridge, Senior Editor

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We ladies in the class of 2018 like to think that the title “second semester senior” looks pretty good on us, but unfortunately most eyes only focus on the logos and mascots of the college merch we model on a daily basis (Uniform sweatshirt? What’s that?). Thus, the inevitability of overwhelming questions about acceptances and life after graduation means that the many of us who are still unsure when it comes to college must carefully weigh our clothing options.

For some, this means putting way too much thought into what we wear and where we wear it. The choice is either to alienate the large part of our wardrobes that suggests commitment to any one institution, or face our fears head on by wearing the gear and fielding questions left and right about where we plan (or worse, where we HOPE) to attend.

Chances are good that we’re donning this gear because it’s comfortable and it’s the pricey result of expertly persuading our families to swing by the bookstore at the end of a college tour, not because we want to drop some nondescript hints about our future plans. This is especially true when we don’t have any plans, or when those plans hinge on the collective decision of a group of strangers in an admissions office conference room…

If you live in a small town like I do where a solid quarter of your former classmates have been committed to top schools since the start of sophomore year (wish I was kidding), going to the grocery store in college apparel is even riskier. Running into a mother of an old teammate or peer is the absolute worst-case scenario. “Nope, no athletic scholarship coming my way that I know of, I quit soccer in middle school and I never had the coordination for lacrosse.” They nod in that “oh, can’t relate” kind of way and drive away with their “Proud UMich Mom” zip-up fleece, baseball hat, and license plate frame. Morale status: low.

You may encounter any combination of similarly terrifying personalities. There’s the former teacher, who you want so badly to give a tangible reason to be proud in case you don’t see them again, but who you can’t stand to lie to about being in the dark. There’s the proud alum, who wants to tell you all about the stellar econ department and memories of tailgates and superstitious traditions—kind of like a perky tour guide, but he doesn’t talk nearly as fast as one and you can’t slip off to lunch if you get bored. Then you have the consoling parent of a friend who is trying to explain just how difficult it is to get into college “nowadays.” Turns out, there are more students applying than spots available… who would’ve known! You let them believe you are leaving educated and newly at ease, but really you’re just out 20 minutes and a dozen eggs because getting them would’ve meant awkwardly acknowledging their daughter in the dairy aisle.

And so, unsettled by the thought of spending just one more minute juggling hypothetical acceptances and optimistic plans, we’ve often been forced to resort to vague extensions of the truth. It goes a little something like, “Oh this? It’s an old hand-me-down,” (that is, if you count junior year as old and second-hand as in it was the last one in the store so it came off the mannequin…), or maybe, “My friend goes there!” (as in, I really hope I have friends there that I just haven’t met yet), or, “My grandfather is a huge fan of their football team. Gooo (insert any number of cult-ish mascots)!!” (which, for me, is usually 100% accurate — but less than 10% of why I want to go there).

The fact is, this is a time of uncertainty for many of us, and that’s okay. We’re trying our best to savor these last few months with friends and family, while also suffering from acute senioritis, preparing for the inevitable awkwardness of interviews, speculating about notification dates, and weighing what we value in a school when it comes down to actually choosing. We recognize that questions from extended family and even strangers are simply part of the deal, but you can only say “I’m not sure yet,” so many times without feeling a little bit of a sting.

We are all incredibly proud of our classmates who have committed already, and we eagerly anticipate the day that we too can make it insta-official and write our future alma mater in orange on the lounge whiteboard, but until then, we’ll simply have to practice patience and wear our college-suggestive t-shirts with caution. Everyone’s curious—and it’s only because they care. However, on behalf of my forty sisters in the “waiting” period and the herd of juniors in the exciting “search” phase, I beg you: love an upperclassman this spring and just…don’t ask.

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The Ursuline Chronicle:The student news magazine of Ursuline Academy
Worth the Risk? Wearing College Gear before May 1st