I’m kind of an expert at going back to school. Ask my mom, who has worn a smiling face every time I’ve gone back to college with a new major, certain that this is what I really want to do with my life. I’m not the owner of any kind of degree, but damn it being in college for over 10 years (don’t judge me!) has made me an authority on something (clearly not academia), and I can now put that to good use with this here blog that I consider my “job”. My mom is pretty proud. No really, she totally is.
Going back to school is stressful and weird and can make you feel like you’re under a microscope. But instead of having someone who knows what they’re doing looking at you through that microscope, you have a bunch of really underqualified assholes analyzing all your data. Ok, I was clearly never a science major and I know very little about microscopes. Let’s just get on with the list, shall we?
1. You can wear as much, or as little makeup as you want
I used to get so stressed out on the first day because I didn’t want to wear too much makeup. God forbid I looked like I was trying to impress anyone. I needed to be effortless. So effortless that when I didn’t have time to wear makeup nobody would even notice. What I’ve learned is this- no matter how much makeup you wear someone is going to assume you either have an extravagent party to attend after school, or on the opposite end of the spectrum you have fallen ill with a deadly disease. Both of these assumptions are misguided and silly. Wear whatever kind of makeup you want whenever you want. And when someone says “are you going to a party?” say “I AM the party”. Or if someone asks you if you’re sick say “I’m the illest” and remember that your level of made-up-ness is for you and nobody else, and you get to do whatever makes you feel good. And that gets to change at any time.
2. Leggings are pants
Leggings are pants, you can wear Uggs if you want to, and you can wear your favorite pair of jeans every single damn day if it makes you happy. Your leggings are slightly see through? Who cares? As if people haven’t seen a little booty before. Give me a break. Leggings are not just pants for skinny girls, either. My fat ass gets to wear leggings just as much as every other human, and you know why? BECAUSE LEGGINGS ARE COMFORTABLE WHY WON’T YOU JUST LET ME LIVE?! While other people are obsessively waging a war against stretchy pants, I’ll be over here chilling… in the most comfortable breathable cotton heaven that has ever graced my bottom half.
3. Overdress your little heart out
You want to wear heels and dresses to school every day? GO ON GURL!!! Just like makeup, being “over” dressed can draw attention to ourselves that we may not want. I remember wanting to wear dresses and cute shoes to school all the time and passing up the opportunity because I didn’t want to stand out from the crowd too much. Once, someone asked me why I would wear wedges on campus… while we were sitting down in class. We were sitting down. As most people do for the majority of time at school. The answer was of course “because I like them”. And that’s all that is has to be. If you like something then you get to wear it. You might feel a little vulnerable wearing things that stand out more than you’re used to, and that’s totally ok! You can be vulnerable and feel a little awkward and still wear whatever you like. Confidence is something that takes a long time to cultivate, and it starts with living however the hell you want to live. So go on and wear what you want, practice standing out (or blending in), and feel proud of yourself at the end of the day. You dress for yourself and nobody else, and that’s all that matters!
4. Practice a little style self care
Going back to school can be really hard. School is hard, and we don’t give enough credit to students for all the stress they’re under. Think of a few things that make you feel peaceful and relaxed in your “beauty” routine. It may be a bath, grooming your beard, a hot shower, painting your nails, putting on lotion, dying your arm pit hair, or even flossing your teeth. Whatever it may be, remember to set aside time for it every couple days. I frequently forget how cathartic doing my nails is, and some times have to force myself to sit down and do them. Once I begin, I’m reminded that it makes me really happy and quells my anxiety for a bit. You can add a couple extra minutes to your face wash routine and give yourself a face massage, or even do yoga toes while you sit on the couch and do homework. Being a student is tough, and you deserve a little extra love.
5. Don’t let anyone tell you shit about your appearance
The thing about your appearance that is so important is that it is yours. Not the kid who sits next to you in Sociology, or the girl staring at you funny for dipping your pizza in honey mustard at lunch. It’s yours, and yours alone. When someone tries to tell you how to look or dress, remember that you are the one living in your body, and the only one who gets to decide what to do with that body. At the end of the day the people who try to force their ideas of what beauty is on you do not matter at all. There is nobody in the world who is a better version of you. You are the perfect expression of yourself in this moment.
I hope you all have an amazing year at school. Whether your goal is good grades, self improvement, or just getting your parents off your back for another semester, remember that you’re pretty bad ass and your style (or lack of it) gets to be a reflection of that. Good luck!