The Clothes Don’t Make the (Wo)Man

by The Cowl Editor on September 3, 2021

Editor's Column

The Clothes Don’t Make the (Wo)Man

Senior Year Offers Us a Chance to Start Over

By Nicole Patano ’22


On Saturday, Aug. 28, a day before my scheduled move-in at Providence College, I sat in my room and finally began packing the clothes I would be bringing with me to campus. It wasn’t until I started this process that I realized why I had put packing off until the last possible second. 

I never felt comfortable walking around campus, regardless of how much I tried to project the opposite. If you see me, I’m typically wearing a dress or heels or some funky, “fashion-forward” outfit. When I elected to study remotely last year, I subscribed to the “business on the top, party on the bottom” method of dress for classes, pairing blouses with sweatpants and fuzzy socks. Unfortunately, this is not a socially acceptable outfit for in-person courses.

As soon as the bustle of repeatedly climbing four flights of stairs slowed and I was left to put away what I had just packed the day before, the same tight feeling rose in my stomach. I worried about my outfit for the first day of classes, when and where I would eat lunch and dinner, and how on earth I would be able to get a newspaper published in under three days. What wasn’t on my radar was a faulty smoke detector, which provided my roommates and me with a 5 a.m. wake-up call.

While we sat in the hallway and waited for someone to fix the detector, I found myself laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Despite how much I worked to ensure I had the most perfect and productive first day of classes, my plans were foiled. Yet, as much as I cursed my bad luck, I was thankful for the extra three hours of early morning productivity. 

I wish that I had this mentality as a freshman; however, as I spoke with a fellow member of the Editorial Board Wednesday morning, she made me realize that I, and all PC students, have been given an opportunity to redo freshman year. Now, I’m not saying you will be able to make the bad roommates or bad feelings in your stomach disappear; however, I think you can use this fresh start to reflect on your experiences and make this the best “freshman” year you have ever had. 

As I have learned in my time at PC and just this week, how you respond to a situation matters more than the actual experience. The next time you find yourself faced with a difficult decision or an uncomfortable circumstance, treat it as a piece of clothing and take it off, so to speak. You will feel much lighter as a result. 

And if this year doesn’t pan out, you know what they say: third time’s a charm (seniors excluded).