After my grade school’s basketball homecoming, my family would host a big shindig at our house. The parents stayed upstairs, chatting and drinking (apple juice, I’m sure), while the kiddies played in the basement, raiding the big wicker costume box that belonged to my brother and me. Chockfull of Halloween leftovers, ballet recital tutus and discarded parental digs, that wicker wonder was a Pandora’s box waiting to be unleashed.
And boy, was it! The main event of the party was always a fashion show. Bellies bursting with apple juice, the parents cheered us on as we sashayed onto the “runway” of my kitchen wearing outgrown Belle ballgowns, torn-up Power Ranger onesies and blue wigs. Basically, I had a childhood outfitted in ridiculous memories and blackmail on most 18- to 25-year-olds in the 60646 zip code.
So, what’s my point here?
Take it from a senior: Have a costume box.
Little has changed from my “modeling” days. Somehow, I have found at Georgetown a group of friends that share my lack of social grace and penchant for looking like a fool in public. Yes, we are those guys. We special order pinnies for Georgetown Day, we take Halloween way too seriously (Heavyweights and Space Jam were this year’s costumes) and we berate those unfortunate souls who show up to our theme parties without appropriate “Golden Girls,” “Denim Day Party” or “Georgetown of the Jungle” garb.
At my house, my roommates and I literally have a costume box in our dining room — you know, in case we need a Cookie Monster vest while eating ramen noodles. I understand that this dress-up business seems silly, but that plastic bin in my dining room represents nearly four years of friendships and frivolity — and its uses transcend nighttime revelry. This past July, as a teacher with the DC Reads summer program, I wore glasses, a big white button-down (i.e. a lab coat) and a bandana to become Dr. Fossil: paleontologist for my third-grade classroom. My students knew what those sugar-high kids in my basement realized: Creativity makes life exciting.
College is a time to try on many different hats of both the metaphoric and literal varieties. Be adventurous. Be brave. Most of all, be imaginative! My favorite stuffed animal as a kid, Muffy Vanderbear, had a life philosophy (yes, toys can have life philosophies): “Life is one big dress-up box.” She was right. Life is full of opportunities for growth and development — live it to the fullest. And if an endeavor requires wearing a pair of red glasses and some neon bike shorts, own it as you sashay down the runways of Prospect Street.
Jesuit education cares for the whole person — mind, soul and funny bone. Take advantage of Georgetown’s academia, including the study of imagination. True imagination in the Jesuit sense grasps reality. For me, wearing some outrageous ’80s throwback gear gets me outside of my perceived self — the “me” that’s hampered by petty minutia. There’s liberation in wearing a Santa suit surrounded by friendly faces in elf ears. My costume box reminds me of something that’s really real: friendship. In my friends, I find comfort, love and happiness. There are many ways to get to this conclusion; I think that being ridiculous gives me some perspective. It’s hard to take yourself seriously in a floor-length denim dress. So have a laugh, especially if it’s at your perceived self’s expense. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something about the real you behind those stunner shades.
TAKE IT FROM A SENIOR is a rotating, bi-weekly column written from the viewpoint of graduating seniors. Hannah Klusendorf is a senior in the College.