Romanticizing anything presents both benefits and dangers. When I use the word “romanticization,” I refer to the phenomenon where someone glamorizes an experience; in turn, they hide the negative aspects of it. College is probably one of the most overly-romanticized experiences. While it’s not necessarily bad to idealize your time at school, you don’t want to paint it in an inauthentic light. Here’s how you can romanticize your college experience while avoiding over-glorification:
Examine your college through an aesthetic lens. And what do I mean by that? Basically, you should beautify some aspects of your experience while also embracing the ugly. Your dorm room is a good place to start. Decorate it however you want; throw posters on the walls, plants on your desk. Do anything you can to make your dorm room look less like…well…a college dorm room. You should try to surround yourself in the beauty of your campus, too. Go on frequent walks around the school and snap some pictures. These simple acts will give you a deeper appreciation for your school.
Not everything has to be pretty, and not everything will be. There are some facets of college that are difficult (or dangerous) to aestheticize. As a matter of fact, you should spread awareness of the “ugly” aspects of your school, rather than ignore or make light of them. If there’s a systemic issue at your school, fight for change. Don’t wait for it to fade away; nothing will get done if you don’t take a stand. With the beauty, there’s the bad.
Wearing cute outfits is a practice of romanticism, but only if you’re not trying to impress someone. To give yourself a boost of confidence, as well as something to look forward to for class, dress however you want. Don’t worry about what’s in and what’s out. People aren’t going to judge you for wearing what was so last season, or for repeating outfits. To save you the stress of throwing together an outfit last minute, plan the night before. College is the time for self-discovery, and with that, finding what styles suit you.
Don’t take this as an opportunity to over indulge. Shopping is fun, but you don’t want to drop your entire college budget on new clothes every day. Set aside a separate budget reserved just for clothing. Not only with this save you money, but it’s also a step closer to sustainability. Don’t let any piece of clothing go to waste. You don’t have to dress up every day either. Balance the days you wear sweatpants to class with those that you wear skirts.
What’s one way to romanticize doing piles and piles of homework? Putting on a playlist full of ambient music. I love studying to classical music; as stupid as it sounds, it makes me feel more ten times more intelligent. I have playlists for different vibes too, from autumn on campus to brain melting music that’ll put me at ease. When you start to feel overwhelmed—which is inevitable in college–music is a great way to soothe your nerves. It’ll immerse you in a different place and time—somewhere far beyond the library at 2 A.M. It’s almost like playing pretend. I’ll write an essay to an instrumental playlist and think that I’m Jo March from Little Women. Whatever gets you through your work.
Sometimes we forget where we are. We forget our identities as college students and what exactly that means. The best way to remind yourself that you’re in college—a stage of life that happens so quickly—is by watching other students. I’m not urging you to stalk anyone on campus. What I mean is, you should watch movies and shows or read books that take place in college. Dead Poets Society and The Secret History are my personal favorites (though I think the setting for Dead Poets Society is a private high school). This movie and book are focused on academia, both its flaws and its allure.
Be warned: some of this content includes dark themes. In no way, shape, or form should you romanticize those aspects. That’s where you cross the line into blind glorification.
Pictures will immortalize your college experience. You’ll look back on them through a rose-colored lens (remember when…? I miss those times…). Even though I’m still in college, I love going through my photos from freshmen year. Sometimes they make me strangely nostalgic. Yes, that was only three and a half years ago, but everything was so different then. I can’t imagine how much more sentimental I’ll be ten years down the road.
Don’t just keep your pictures on your phone. For the sake of nostalgia, print your photos and display them in some way. My recommendation is to buy a photo album. I’ve recently decided to put together photo albums for major experiences, like study abroad. It’s a very therapeutic activity, and one that gives you a tangible reminder of your time at school.
It saddens me when people aren’t passionate about what they learn. It’s easier to appreciate your time at school when you’re actually interested in your major. Explore different ways to get more involved. If you’re an English major, expand your range of books you read. Maybe your professors are assigning you the wrong books; that might explain why you’re unmotivated to learn. Or maybe you’re a theatre major who has lost their passion, on account of a demanding director. My solution? Audition for shows that they’re not directing.
Don’t let your schoolwork consume your life, though. You need interests outside of your major too.
As I’ve mentioned before, you shouldn’t over-romanticize your college experience. Doing so can actually deteriorate your mental health. You might end up dismissing your stress and other less-than-glamorous emotions. With that said, romanticize in moderation!
Feature image source: https://pin.it/2SLDOJU
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