Ever felt the need to put on your Sunday best for your 3pm Thursday class? Stress less; Claire Gordon explains that at Uni, no one really cares.
The start of university is like setting up the foundation blocks for your future. Everyone wants to succeed and get the highest grades, be accepted into higher programs if they wish, and make friends. Another pressure that seems so often not talked about is the pressure to be fashionable. To look cool to our peers. This pressure affects recent school leavers, who are in a panic as to what to wear as they’ve spent their school years in a uniform not having to make this decision, through to mature-aged students who want to fit in with everyone else.
Many times, I have got up in a rush to race to an early lecture, got there and thought, “Oh my gosh, what on earth am I wearing? People are going to judge me on how I look.” It took me a very long time to realise that nobody cares. Nobody cares what clothes I am wearing, whether they are the latest fashion or home brand, if I accidently put on a pair of jeans which have pen ink stain from a previous late night study session, or if my shoes don’t match my belt. Nobody cares how I look because everyone is either worried about how they look, are focused on their class, thinking about what work they need to get done or what they are doing on the weekend. And because nobody cares, you shouldn’t either. Dress how you feel comfortable, embrace your own style and wear what makes YOU feel confident.
As young adults, we are genetically programmed to think everyone is looking at us, judging us or making comments. Most of the time, this simply is not the case. We can relate to that great feeling when we suddenly catch our reflection in a mirror or shop window and think, “Wow, I look great today.” However, for some students, this is just not the case most days. This pressure to look good, each and every day we attend university is an unnecessary pressure. This feeling of being ugly, unattractive or unfashionable is one that can often lead to very low self-confidence and in turn effect our grades and social participation. No one should be made to feel this way.
Not too long ago, I had a day were I was feeling pretty lousy about myself. I walked into the bathrooms at university, and whilst checking my makeup, a girl turned around to me and said, “I love your beret!” with a big smile on her face. I will tell you this – that made my day. A total stranger, paying me a lovely compliment, it was such a nice feeling, especially on a day where you feel you don’t look your best. So the next time you are on campus, stop thinking about how you look, how other perceive you and give someone else a compliment. They may be feeling just like you and maybe having a bad day, or could just use a nice pick me up to brighten their day.
Your confidence is something people will notice, that will help you meet people, make friends and in turn make you feel good about yourself and benefit your mental state. We all have plenty of pressures in life already, this doesn’t need to be another. So don’t worry about what you think others perceptions of you are, embrace who you are and enjoy it.
Most of all, be kind to yourself, there is nothing more fashionable than someone with a positive outlook on life and smile of their face!
Words by Claire Gordon