Friday, January 22, 2021

Campus Style

By Jordan Koziol
Columnist

As summer comes to a close, I find myself in that awkward August limbo — bittersweet nostalgia meets unbridled excitement for a new semester. But nothing says “back-to-school” like that impending to-do list. My mental state goes from zen summer bliss to the inevitable monologue: “Really need to order my textbooks, definitely will do that tonight (LOL) … should I get Eick points or will my brother trade me meal equivs for rides to Chipotle? Crap! I really can’t keep cancelling my dentist appointment.”

A pair of old shoes can bring back countless memories (Photo courtesy of Jordan Koziol)
A pair of old shoes can bring back countless memories (Photo courtesy of Jordan Koziol)

Then, of course, came the annual closet audit that revealed my beat-up Converse desperately need to be replaced. As I surveyed the stains, the rip near the sole and the graying-laces, I was reminded that these shoes bore witness to countless adventures. The wear and tear was a collective token of one of my favorite years yet. The grass stain is like a medal for hiking the military bunkers in Barcelona. Sludge from a frat basement. Sand ingrained from Manasota Key to Manasquan. They remind me of the dog that my friend Allie met at the Eiffel Tower while she wore these shoes. The gross gray tinge from an accidental plunge in the Barnegat Bay. Countless hours spent in my car, on a plane, making plans, laughing with little abandon. These trusty shoes have been with me as I studied abroad, experienced my first 21-year-old summer and, consequently, gained the funniest stories ever.

I realized that campus style isn’t necessarily about the latest trend or the perfect first-day-of-class outfit. It’s wearing exactly what you want: the comfy zip-up, the lived-in jeans, the shoes that become your expressive self portrait. So this fall, don’t shed all your layers in your new back-to-school wardrobe because those old pieces in your closet inevitably tell the best stories.

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