What I Learned From My High School Uniform

What I Learned From My High School Uniform

It was more than just how to iron pleats.
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It definitely wasn't the prettiest, warmest or at times the most practical, but it definitely was the most comfortable. There was a certain beauty to rolling out of bed ten minutes before you had to walk out the door, throwing on one of the same four identical jumpers over your pajamas, zipping it up and being on your way. Occasionally, there was the added hair bow in case your hair was especially un-brushed that day or a pair of tights if you couldn't find socks without a Nike logo on them.

But what was the point of all this? Why risk sliding down the sidewalk in the morning by wearing shoes that reached the height of fashion in the '50s and have exactly no traction. I can't tell you how many times I looked at a "Why We Love Our Uniform" sign and still found myself questioning why I had to wear a peter pan collar and color-coded name tag every day. I was always told we wore our uniform because it brought us all together while taking away distractions outside of academics. However, the true beauty of hindsight is that once I stopped sporting my "true blue" jumper, saddle shoes and blazer every day I became even more thankful for what I learned by wearing them.


The Peter Pan Collar

A bright white collar with two curves meeting in the middle taught me that no matter the curves life may throw at me, there's always a way to center myself. Most of the time, like the two big curves, there are two extreme sides to a situation, but humbling yourself by meeting in the middle is often where you will find yourself the most.

The Rolled-Up Sleeves

Crisp and folded just below our shoulders, the sleeves were a reminder that even those things that we expect to run most smoothly can be messed up sometimes. Every once and a while your sleeve will come unfolded or something you planned so carefully will unravel one way or another. The best thing to do in these times is fix it as best we can and move on.

The Zipper

Running from our waists all the way up to the bottom of our necks our zippers are a reminder that there is always more to be done. In order to completely zip-up our jumpers we needed to start with one hand and finish with the other. The same is true with whatever we may put our minds to. If we truly want it to be done to the best of our abilities we must be as thorough as possible, leaving no track uncovered ourselves or not being afraid to call on a friend for help pulling everything together when we really need it.

The Belt

Although two loose strings dangle at our sides when we first put on our uniform, tying them in a bow at our back reminds us how everything comes full circle. What goes around will always come back around eventually so we should always treat others with respect despite any differences we may have.

The Pleats

Sewn in from the hem to the belt our crisp pleats teach us the importance of discipline. Sometimes life calls for exactness and we must always refuse to cut corners. Our pleats are stitched into our uniform in exact increments to remind us to always put our best and most polished efforts forward.

The White Crew Socks

After a certain amount of time, our socks always seemed to get holes in them. In the same way, after years of the same routine life can wear you down. Never be afraid of change and switching up your goals, habits or opinions. Always remember that every once in a while even though you can't change your type of socks you could always just wear tights instead. Be innovative and never settle.

The Saddle Shoes

Stiff at first and becoming more comfortable the longer they are worn, our saddle shoes are a reminder that every adjustment takes time. The more you dive in and expose yourself to something new the faster you become comfortable with it. In the same way, the longer you wear your saddles the more they fit specifically for you.

The Blazer

Although it is unique to upper-level students, my blazer was a reminder of the privilege it was to receive such a substantial education. Sported during important events or visitors it was a reminder of all of the amazing resources at my fingertips. Every time I put on my blazer I experienced something unique to my school. Seeing pictures of my friends and I wearing them in the past is a reminder of the obligations we have to use the knowledge and resources we were gifted with to make an impact on the world.

The Blazer Pins

It was not so much the pins that I wore on my own blazer, but the ones that decorated the coats of everyone else that taught me something. Yes, we should take pride in our own accomplishments, but recognizing the accomplishments of others may be even more important. Whether it's a "thank-you" or a small "congrats" you could make someone's entire day by recognizing her achievement. While celebrating our own successes we should not forget those of others or the contributions of the community or individuals that helped us achieve in the first place.

The Bright Red Name Tag

Not only was my bright red name tag special to me because it connected each of the members of the Class of 2015 in a special way, it taught me the importance of responsibility. At the time, remembering to put on a plastic pin bearing my name seemed ridiculous, especially at a school so small everyone already knew who I was. In hindsight, it wasn't the name tag itself that taught me something important. Remembering to take my name tag on and off every day taught me the significance of honoring even the smallest of obligations. Sometimes the details really do matter and what we view as unimportant can mean the world to someone else.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Salvo

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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