Some people use their appearance to reflect their true selves, while others use it as a blank canvas to expresses their art.
School protocol requires for every student to wear the same uniform all day, every day. The length of skirts, elasticity of sock bands, shiny-ness of black shoes, etc. is all specified, and meticulously laid down under “Uniform Guidelines,” in our diaries. While the intention behind the creation of a uniform is noble, it hampers creative expression. Almost all Indian schools have uniforms, in a bid to erase socio-economic inequalities, and promote a sense of unified identity amongst its students.
College acts as the hot knife of freedom, cutting through the (sometimes) suffocating butter of unoriginality that schools forces upon us for all these years. It acts as the saviour of whatever little imaginative abilities most of us have left. Hair usually ends up being the first victim of expression. The possibilities are limitless, bold, blunt, bob, or balayage. Cut, colour, and style, marks the exit of a school child, and the entry of a strong free, independent individual, whose hair exuberates confidence and fierceness.
The way of dressing too undergoes a drastic transformation. Most follow their own good sense and dress as they will, while others may buy into the University of Delhi culture of kurtas and jhola. The khadi way of life, is an indicator of successful integration into one’s own culture, as well as an ode to Gandhiji. After years of buying into the colonisers capitalism, returning to one’s own roots, is never a bad idea.
Clothes and hair manage to scratch the surface, but the real transformation is best observed in body language. Our way of speaking, posture, hand and facial gestures go through a radical change, over the three years. You may find yourself subconsciously aping your professors’ mannerisms, which usually is a result of your admiration for that person. The way you carry yourself in public and private spaces becomes more distinct, as a result of maturity and exposure.
The first-year identity crisis finds its resolution in the third-year of college. You may find yourself not caring about physical appearance at all, or perhaps, the complete opposite. The art of not caring about what others say is mastered, and you find a version of yourself which is completely authentic. No matter the clothes and hair, by the end of your college journey, you reach a stage in life where beauty lies in diversity and acceptance, and the art of giving and receiving love.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat