It’s us, not them

Christine Guerrini

In one of my favorite songs from the musical “Rent,” documentarian Mark belts, “To being an ‘us’ for once instead of a ‘them.’ ” Like this, half of the other songs, television shows and movies I love have something to do with that age-old angst over social hierarchy.

Why do so many people identify with overwhelming feelings of insufficient status? Is there even such a thing as “us” and “them”? Only if you let there be.

With plenty of stereotypes, Villanova has an intimidation factor that rivals most universities. For example, the campus has become extremely fashion-forward. However, during my second round as a South Campus resident, my viewpoint has shifted. I’m no longer the frightened freshman who can only wear sweatpants to the Spit self-consciously. I’m just the sophomore that watches the swarms go by clutching their designer bags.

It’s not surprising that people are so easily tricked into believing that the only way to survive here is to look perfect. I certainly was. One of the earliest pieces of advice that I received while getting ready for college was to “dress up nicely and you’ll blend in just fine: button down shirts, trendy jeans.” That isn’t exactly the most reassuring message.

“Oh no,” I thought, “Is college just full of high school cliques on a larger, more obnoxiously expensive scale?” Yet, I still went out and bought a pile of news clothes just so that I could blend in and avoid the snide “what is she wearing?” comments.

As a freshman, I expected that everyday clothes had to be crafted down to the very last thread. But I didn’t want to be a “them,” but I also didn’t want to be completely invisible to the crowd around me.

I thought my friends were supposed to be well-known throughout the campus, like it would matter if I had a connection to some random senior. I was going to be somebody on campus; I was going to climb to the top of that imaginary pyramid. “Us” is what I would be.

Now, after living on Villanova’s campus a full year, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter. Some days will be complete hell, and you’ll wish that you could transform yourself. Other times, you’ll remember why it’s good to be you. Everybody has those insecurities. All you can do is come to terms with it.

Understand that your best friends may be a little bit eclectic. They may even loathe popped collars. Certainly, you will never be known by every single person on campus (unless, of course, you are Chris Plentus). You won’t be best dressed, the vision of Homecoming queens past, in this ever-changing environment.

You will only ever be one thing; You.

Enjoy the last days of summer, because the snow will be here before you know it.