I left my apartment in Oxford on Thursday, March 12, fully certain I would be back on campus in just a week, possibly two, and I packed with this assumption in mind.
I threw a bunch of shirts, a single sweater, a few pairs of leggings and jeans, pajamas, a random assortment of shoes and a few jackets into a suitcase and a few bags and called it a day. Looking back, I was completely in denial. I didn’t want to reconcile to this new reality, and the haphazard collage of items in my suitcase proved it.
Once I got home, I didn’t unpack right away. Hello again, denial. What was the point in unpacking a suitcase I’d be repacking in a week or two?
You know where this story is going.
Soon after, I, along with the rest of the Miami community, learned that classes were going to be moved online for the rest of the semester, and with mandated stay-at-home orders on the horizon, it was clear I’d be at home for the foreseeable future.
That, friends, is when reality began to hit.
My room at home is spacious with a queen-size bed, mauve walls and yellow furniture — a strand of white flowers intertwined in lights lines one window. Intentionally, the closets are half-filled, the dresser drawers hosting a handful of spring and summer clothes and not much else. What I had packed in the few bags I’d brought home was not a wardrobe-make.
It was time for a dose of creativity and also a pinch of “who cares, it’s just a Zoom call” because I haven’t wanted to spend extra money on new clothes. Some days I’ve stayed in flannel pants and a sweatshirt, a laptop balanced on my knees, a blanket wrapped around my shoulders.
Another day, motivation levels skyrocketed (momentarily), and I threw on a dress, braided my hair and put on a necklace. That particular day, it was colder than I’d anticipated, so I selected a pair of magenta athletic leggings to accompany the dress.
It was very classy.
My range of outfits can largely be attributed to my level of motivation that day and slightly attributed to the weather outside. It has been 7o degrees one day and quite literally snowing and 36 degrees the next. Chicago — I’ll never understand it.
I have worn my grey-and-white Champion long-sleeve shirt several times. My Nike pullover and leggings duo is a go-t0. The soft pink sweater and boyfriend jeans I bought from Old Navy to wear to class were definitely worn to play basketball outside with my brother. I have absolutely borrowed a shirt or two from my younger sister.
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A high moment was when I located my jean jacket in the downstairs closet after being fully convinced I’d left it in my apartment.
I suppose now is as good a time as any to review a handful of items I left in Oxford, because maybe other college students can relate.
My alarm clock. If it weren’t for my phone and computer, which admittedly I always have nearby, I wouldn’t have any concept of time. There’s a little calendar on my desk that currently reads February 17. (Just let that one pass.)
Four pillows. Yes, all four of my good pillows are currently sitting on a bed I haven’t seen in more than a month. The ones at home are not comfortable. That’s why they were left at home.
My straightening iron. My hair is extremely curly and at its most agreeable when straightened. It’s been messy ponytails and braids for days. We have an iron at home, but it’s no match for my curls.
My extra contact lenses. Luckily, I have spares at home, and also, my glasses. Thank goodness.
Nearly all of my sweaters and/or possibilities for creating cute outfits. It’s now athleisure day almost every day.
To be clear, this entire piece is written with a healthy sense of humor and sarcasm, because really, none of this is detrimental. Everyone is throwing outfits together and attending Zoom calls wearing half-pajamas and half-professional attire because dressing for success no longer mandates business casual.
I’m not sure what the next few weeks will bring, but I can assure you that until the stay-at-home order is lifted —and I can return to Oxford to reclaim my wardrobe — it will most certainly include one grey-and-white Champion long-sleeve shirt and far too many pairs of athletic leggings.
Note: On April 18, I finally broke down and bought some clothes online. This occurred after I had finished writing this article.