I think a part of every carefree child of summer dies when “back to school” sales start blossoming and quickly out-compete swimwear advertisements. The call for us to buy new pencils, new binders and new paper is the call that harkens the end of freedom.
Or so it is for high schoolers and below. For the soon-to-be-college-students among us, those sales mark the beginning of unprecedented . Because it isn't just basic school supplies that we have to purchase... our thoughts are now consumed with how best to decorate our sparse dorm rooms, who will bring the minifridge, and Mac or PC.
Searching for new items to add spice to our lives in college can be, dare I say, fun. Indeed, it's a far cry from trying to find the cheapest binder dividers. Shopping for the necessities of college life is symbolic of “out with the old, in with the new.” Just as we are leaving our old lives in our hometown, we also leave behind our ratty sheets, old pillows, favorite books and stuffed animals (although I am planning on bringing at least two of the above with me...). In their stead, we bring with us to college fresh pairs of underwear, brand new comforters and toiletries galore.
Perhaps a new shampoo bottle isn't quite symbolic of starting a new life, but when paired with the unfamiliar and infamous bathrooms in which it will be used (I've heard stories), the prospect of college becomes a lot more daunting.
But the unfamiliarity that comes with moving into college also provides us with the ability to present ourselves in anyway we want. A new life is certainly hard to adjust to, but we can choose to make it easier by amplifying the best qualities in us. Shopping for new clothes (making a statement or blending in) and shampoo (anti-frizz or go with the fro) helps in the transition... it makes one feel like a new person, crafted by ourselves for our own benefit.
Of course, it takes a lot more than a new wardrobe to suddenly become BMOC or star of the football team — but the things we buy for college give us the confidence to branch out and lead the lives we've wanted to. With a new look and the self-esteem to back it up, it's easier to adjust to the radical change from high school to college.
And it's OK to bring a teddy bear as a reminder of where we came from.