Wake up! It’s time for school 

August 16, 2022

The past couple nights of sleep have not been as fulfilling as I wish them to be. I have found myself fluttering my eyes open at 6:45 every morning, no matter the amount of slumber that I have received. At first I didn’t really notice it, and brushed it off as common restlessness. As I found myself this morning being physically jilted out of bed by my own might, I grew rather frustrated with this new habit. Sitting straight up staring into the dim light of my bedroom, I made my thinking face. 

Am I missing something? I am quite forgetful and have a terrible issue with forgetting about occasions, but I really have nothing on the horizon. I went on with my morning as usual, still allowing this weird phenomenon to burn a hole in the back of my skull. Then it really hit me, school is upon us. 

I have always romanticized the first day back at school. I think far into detail of what I am going to wear and what to do with my unruly hair, and have since being a young boy. I remember laying out my outfit the night before and thinking about what that next day has to hold. 


Now I am all grown up, still laying out my outfit the night before, but more worried about what my entire year has in store for me. I feel that this might be a pretty universal feeling to anyone. The feeling of anticipation eating you away so hard is nerve racking. 

Like how the night before my first day of fourth grade, I got extremely nervous. So, I watched the movie “My Girl” alone in my bedroom for the first time, without my mom’s permission. I am embarrassed to say that I was trying to calm my nerves, but ended up having my first panic attack because he couldn’t see without his glasses. It is terrible how first day nerves always get to you. 

This time last year, I was an incoming freshman here at Southern Illinois University. Something I worried about a lot as an incoming Saluki was what is appropriate to wear? I am not talking about modesty, because if I were, I would just toss everything out the window, as that has no place here right now. There is such a thing as being overdressed and underdressed, in multiple different ways. 

Of course, there is overdressed in the way of me trying to wear my Manolo Blahniks strappy heels to the Borowiak’s IGA supermarket, and undressed like showing up to a job interview in a pair of cookie monster pajama pants. There are also the literal actions of being overdressed and underdressed, and they both seem to happen a lot more than anticipated. 

I’ve run into far too many fashion do’s and dont’s whilst making my way around campus, and I am far too much of an over thinker not to make a list of them. I would love to share them with you now. I could name off a million tips to help aid in your experience at SIUC, but I will save you that time. I have boiled it down to five rules that I have followed by. 

Rule number one: Dress however you want. There is going to be a plethora of styles, and even more types of people to present it. Although Carbondale is tucked in a more conservative region, the amount of diversity in fashion that we have here is amazing. You are destined to find people of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs that add to the big melting pot of our college town. Nobody here dresses alike, and nobody here really cares enough to think poorly of someone wearing what makes them happy. 

Rule number two: Dress in layers. I learned this one frightfully quickly, and I would love to help anyone who will listen. Most buildings on campus are older, meaning that the buildings themselves are hard to regulate temperature wise. In the summers, most buildings are a bit warm, and if they have good air conditioning, they are a bit too cold. There is never a happy medium. Always dress in a way that you can either remove an item of clothing, or add one. Keep that tip in mind, even during the winters. 


Rule number three: Do not wear heels or uncomfortable shoes unless they are a must. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people making their way across campus sporting tall uncomfortable heels, or trying to break in a pair of new Doc Martens, and for what? I almost made this mistake on my first day of school last year, but my older sister talked me out of it. I underestimated the amount of walking there was going to be. It does not matter how close your red lot looks to the building your class is in, it is not worth it. If you were to ask my fabulous professor Ms. Huyke what her opinion is on the matter, she would probably laugh and say that more people need to wear heels to school. This would be coming from a woman that I have never seen in a pair of flats, or quite honestly, repeat an outfit. 

Rule number four: Pack a bag. Never travel lightly, the world will still find its way to slow you down. At first I always packed very sparsely, trying not to lug around a bag of unnecessary crap. As the year got rolling, I realized that I never had anything that I needed or wanted. I always found myself under-equipped for what the world had in store, and I needed a solution. Invest in a good tote bag. Yes, my arm does feel like it’s going to completely detach from my body sometimes, but it pays off to be your own Mary Poppins. 

Finally, rule number five: Experiment with your own style. College is a breath of fresh air to most, and a chance of freedom from nagging mothers or strict fathers. Do not be afraid to try something new while on campus this year. Take advantage of the strangeness and secludedness of Carbondale and step out there a bit. What better place to do it? If you are afraid to experiment with your style and the new trends of today, I encourage you to give them a spin around campus. Be yourself, and continue to grow in many ways.

I hope that these out of the blue and rather odd tips help anyone who is getting ready for this fall semester. Now you might find yourself asking, “who is this gay kid to tell me what I should and should not do?”, and honestly you are so right, but take these into consideration when entering this fall semester.

I expect to see many fall of 2022 runway trends coming our way, mainly this “endless summer” look that has really taken hold and is expected to linger around abit, as the name implies. Lots of tank tops with no bra underneath, which I am still getting used to seeing. Low rise jeans and thick chunky belts are still the rage, as the resurgence of 2000s fashions rule the runways.

Something that is being seen in multiple runway shows this season by design houses such as Ralph Lauren and Givenchy are bringing back the casual blazer, which is something that we let die off in recent years. Some calling back to the overly large shoulder padding of the 1980s, and some from the more modest callback of the 1940s. 

This trend has also made room for the equestrian riding jackets, shown in shows by Hermes and other designers. As it is a bit early for Southern Illinois to really get into the more heavy fall styles, expect to see large coats in different textures like furs and oversized trench coats. 

A great excitement grows deep within me as I sit in anticipation thinking about the first week back to school, and to see what people are wearing now and what the people who fill our dorm halls and apartment buildings will bring to campus this year. 

Staff columnist Aaron Elliot can be reached at [email protected].

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