It’s OK to look mediocre at uni

Campus isn’t a catwalk, you really don’t need to make so much effort

Having finally started going to the library this term as exam panic mounted (though clearly not enough as the existence of this article proves), I’ve noticed a lot of people in the library who seem to make a lot of effort to look good. That’s great, carry on with it by all means: if it gives you confidence or just brightens your day generally, whatever your reasons are I take no issue with it. I’m perfectly happy to observe people who appear to have their lives held together a lot better than my own shambolic excuse for whatever my life currently is.

However, I’d like to offer my own deeply cynical yet entirely sincere opinion on the matter. Namely, that it’s OK to look absolutely mediocre, even downright terrible while on campus. You proudly wear a onesie in the comfort of your student house/flat/rat-infested block so I see no reason not to wear it in the library, in lectures or the gym (the last one might be optimistic and probably against gym policy, I wouldn’t know).

I’ll never be interested in trying to look this good

University is the ultimate academic bubble, like school but without the stupid rules about clothing and calling teachers Mr and Mrs or having to put up with Year 9s. Therefore as a place of unreality, a liminal space if you will (can you guess what subject I’m studying?), university campuses and libraries are ideally suited to wearing precisely what you want and what is comfortable for the hard day of work you’ve meticulously planned out on that colour-coded revision timetable.

Admittedly now and then I’ll cobble together some passable outfit but let’s be honest, it’s most likely a fluke that the colours match or I’ve just done a wash and actually sorted out my socks to avoid being that oh-so edgy odd-socks guy. Or I ran out of clean clothes, panicked and wore all black.

Perfectly acceptable outfits

Honestly, it takes long enough to motivate myself out of bed and into the shower to get ready to leave that once I’ve done that and had some chocolate cereal, I almost feel I’ve done my work for the day (yes I’m a child, I can’t handle grown up food). I haven’t, but that’s where I draw the line at preparing to show myself to the world for the day.

I don’t have the patience or interest to try multiple outfits, put makeup on, or look in the mirror beyond making hilarious faces purely for my own amusement. I guess I’m pretty selfish really but when I can barely motivate myself to walk 10 minutes into uni, am I really expected to dress up for it too?


Also, side note but flip-flops ARE ok to wear. Fashionistas might strut around campus, pouting and offering their unequivocal opinions on why flip-flops are never OK but they’re seasonal footwear, ideal for spontaneous summer days and far more breezy than whatever beautiful yet undoubtedly stifling shoes others are wearing. Plus flip-flops make a satisfying noise as you amble around, slapping against your well-ventilated heels. Flip-flop.

Comfy yet hated, poor flippies

Again, if you have the time, patience and energy to go the extra mile and look respectable, even attractive while you work/procrastinate/procreate or whatever people actually do in the library, then good for you!

I’ll admire you from afar, wearing flip flops and a vest top.