Since the moment I stepped back on campus, after returning from break, the sole topic of conversation has been the abundance of work in the weeks ahead. Granted, there is a copious amount of work to be done (I have more work then you, I don’t care who you are) but there are pros of study week for the alternative-minded student that should not, under any circumstances, be overlooked. It is a widespread misconception that your upcoming exile to the library must be a bottomless hell of sweatpants, scraggly facial hair and those stupid Cornell sweatshirts (I don’t know why I hate them; I just hate them). I implore you, O’ Children of Cornell, to take advantage of your lack of classes, throw off the bonds of acceptable attire, look deep into your clothing repertoire and dress as ridiculous as physically possible. With the disapproving eyes of professors momentarily out of the picture, it is time to take your intrinsic fashion abilities to the next level and dare to dress like the crazy badass individual that you truly are. Its time to put your long forgotten lip piercing back in, show off more skin than a street-corner courtesan and whip out that novelty oral sex related t-shirt you bought just for kicks. At the very least, and for all that is good and holy, dare to be one of the 10 students not wearing a Cornell sweatshirt.
Since it is one of the few times you can get away with dressing completely inappropriately for your surroundings, I beseech you to attempt the styles you have dreamt up but have never had the cajones to put into practice. For beginners, why not dress like your favorite outlandish fictional character? There is the rebellious fighter pilot look, consisting of aviators, a white t-shirt and the most decadent army jacket you can find (I just picked one up from a thrift shop that looks like it was looted from a Soviet officer, amazing). Add a little devil-may-care attitude and you’ll have people calling you Maverick in no time. If your looking for more flair, then take out your grandfather’s old, obscenely flashy suit and throw on that fedora you love but refuse to wear. You may look like you just robbed Steve Buscemi straight off the set of Boardwalk Empire, but you will ensure that fellow students think twice before stealing your coveted library seat. For the ladies, why not get a little retro and channel Diane Keaton from Annie Hall? Pilfer your boyfriend’s tie and baggy khakis and put on an oversized hat; you will have a line of Woody Allen devotees just waiting for the chance to make awkward conversation. Finally, if you feel yourself going insane while studying for your organic chemistry final, show off your craziness with a Fight Club inspired red leather jacket and fashionably atrocious buttoned down shirt. Actually, starting a fight club in the stacks, although tempting, may not be conducive to studying.
Fictional nonconformity is not the only option; you can spice things up merely by invoking the style of a forgotten decade. Simply empty a bottle of gel into your hair and grab a leather jacket, and your every ’50s thug that snuck out to the parking lot to smoke cigarettes. Personally, I’ve spent the last few years blasting Nirvana in hopes that the ’90s would magically return (although no Netflix would be problematic). I have my ripped-up jeans and oversized wool jacket for whenever study week inspires my internal grunginess. You can even attempt to pull off the ’70s, but be forewarned: bell-bottoms are still the worst thing that has happened in the last century ... by far.
However, mimicking others will only take you so far. The true beauty of being locked in the library for days straight is that you can display your true individual style without holding back. I have quite a few friends who have piercings and tattoos that they would love to flaunt, but hide for fear of disapproving looks from professors. Study week is the perfect time to put all 15 of your ear piercings in. It is also the opportune occasion to wear that deep v-neck in order to present your bright green Lacoste tattoo. No one is going to care how high your Mohawk is when they have three hours to Sparknote a semester’s worth of Victorian literature.
Furthermore, since you’re going to be inside all day anyway, the unholy Ithacan gods of climate have no effect on what you can wear. I’m entreating every Cornell female to forsake pants and sleeves and to show off just a little skin before it’s too late. Everyone knows that you reap immense pleasure from watching the creepy guy behind you stare at your legs and not at his notes. I challenge any girl to refute this claim; it’s why we have Halloween.
My point is simply this: just because you feel overwhelmed and stressed out beyond possible conception, there’s no need to dress like you’re 12-years-old. Knowing that you look ridiculous (but well dressed) unleashes a certain self-confidence that legitimately assists in studying. As preposterous as it might sound, if you dress well, you will boost your self-esteem and you will study better. All in all, use this time to jump outside the figurative fashion box and dress how you truly want to dress. Whatever you decide to wear this study week, for the love of god, don’t put on another Cornell sweatshirt.