Illustration by Kaitlyn Lavo
Once upon a time, dressing up for school was a fun and expressive way for students to showcase their individualities through fashion. Whether it was through a new pair of mom jeans, sporting their favorite streetwear or classic college fashions. Now, dressing up has become one of the biggest underlying issues in a college student’s day-to-day life while living in a pandemic.
Sophia Sakayan, a CSUN senior and kinesiology major, wakes up every morning and makes herself a fresh cup of coffee before making an important decision choosing what pair of sweatpants she’s going to wear to her Zoom class.
“I used to love getting dressed for school because I felt it added a certain discipline and balance to my day,” said Sakayan.”It’s just so hard to feel that discipline sometimes because I feel ridiculous putting on a pair of jeans for an online class.”
Sakayan opts to dress homely as her professors don’t mandate that cameras must be switched on for class. However, she does feel it’s important to get up and refresh yourself by changing into something that’s not only comfortable, but combines a bit of your own sense of style in order to boost your self-confidence despite being in a Zoom class as well.
The thought of dressing up for virtual classes right now feels stranger than attending class in pajamas, and it’s inevitable that some choose to stay in their pajamas for class while in the comfort of their own homes.
“I’m the guy that never has their camera on because I am always in my pajamas. It feels weird to get up and get dressed when I know I’m going to do all of my work from my bed,” said senior kinesiology major Barkev Kechichian.
As students sit in front of a computer screen and listen to hours’ worth of lecture, looking trendy and chic is not everyone’s main priority — even for some fashion design students.
“I usually dress casually during Zoom, like a t-shirt or hoodie with sweatpants. Unless I have a meeting later in the day, then I’ll dress up in my blouse, coat, jeans and boots,” said Kittichai Toomboot, a junior majoring in family and consumer science.
Most students find virtual learning to be emotionally taxing when it comes to not only actively taking part in class discussion and the act of getting dressed presentably adds to the students’ emotional toll.
Pat Alford-Keating, an assistant director at University Counseling Services said that getting out of bed and getting dressed can create a positive association between the task and mindset of attending class, thus creating an environment that will keep you feeling productive.
“In essence, getting dressed, serves as a sort of informal uniform for students that signifies that things are different now … now it’s time for concentration and work,” said Alford-Keating.
Sakayan once again found the motivation to discipline herself in order to ensure she doesn’t find herself feeling a lack of attentiveness, commitment and motivation in her courses.
She traded in her light denim blues for a variety pack of cute but cozy sweatpants to allow her confidence to shine through and tackle this strange new world.
Despite the upsetting absence of personal style on college campuses, what truly matters is how students will make sure they do whatever needs to be done to make sure they stay happy, healthy and confident during these stressful times.
“In the beginning of our very first semester in quarantine I did not have the will to do anything, let alone change my clothes,” said Sakayan.” But, there came a time where I said to myself you can’t live like this anymore. So, I made a change because staying in the same clothes for a week started to take a negative toll on me both mentally and emotionally.”