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The college sweatshirt phenomenon

After a large number of Marlborough students walked around with college sweatshirts in the first month of school, an announcement was made reminding each class after a year of COVID-19 that this was not allowed. Wearing college sweatshirts is a privilege only for seniors from May 1 until graduation. While many students have mixed opinions about this rule, here are my views as a 9th grader who has thought long and hard about where my view fits into the conversation.

As a 9th grader, I believe that underclassmen should be encouraged to wait until 12th grade to wear college sweatshirts for two reasons. Firstly, I feel it is a nice reward for seniors after six stressful years of preparing for one of the next chapters in life, college. The second is for the sake of tradition. Just like I look forward to decorating our class banner next year, I’m also looking forward to the time I will be able to confidently walk into school as a senior with the college sweatshirt of my choice. 

Staff Illustrator Amelia ’22

Seniors may take a whole year of their life studying for the standardized tests, writing applications, waiting for their decision and then finally needing to make the tough choice of which college they want to attend. If the small act of not wearing one type of sweatshirt would alleviate stress for seniors, the student body should respect and follow their wishes as we are a community and want to support each other. 

Even when I began studying for the independent school admissions test, the ISEE, I was outrageously stressed. Hearing where my other friends wanted to go, that their scores were better than mine or just the idea of possibly being waitlisted at my first choice school made me filled with anxiety. Studying for this test really did take over my life. Not only did I need to study for upwards of three hours every weekend, but I also needed to keep performing well during the week in school so my grades would be proficient enough for acceptance. I can see why a student wearing a college sweatshirt around school would significantly increase stress levels during the college application process. If I had been dreaming of the idea of going to one specific college since 10th grade, and I was currently in the waiting process, seeing a large logo of this college’s sweatshirt in the hallway would make me even more anxious than I needed to be, especially when school should be a place of refuge. 

Even though I support the policy, I can understand why this rule might be unnecessary, having to wait six years to wear a college sweatshirt that has so much meaning to the 12th graders. Over the summer, my family and I visited my dad’s university in England. This day brings back fond memories of walking along the rainy cobble-stones streets, seeing my dad’s old dorm room and trying his all time favorite fish and chips dish. On this day, I bought a grey sweatshirt with the logo of his alma mater that can be covered with my palm. Technically this sweatshirt is in the dress code, and sometimes it is frustrating waking up in the morning and having to hesitate to pull on my favorite sweatshirt, just for the sake of a rule.

However, I still feel attached to this rule because of tradition at Marlborough. I knew when I began at Marlborough that the traditions, such as having a senior buddy in seventh grade, picking your class colors in 9th grade and choosing your class mascot as a senior, were all things I was extremely looking forward to. This list also includes getting to wear my college sweatshirt when I am a senior. 

The new seniors have waited their time, like all the previous classes that have graced Marlborough’s hall, to enjoy college sweatshirts, so it makes sense that every other grade including mine should also wait to take part in this exciting tradition. When a rule has worked for many years, it seems right to keep it that way in fairness for every other grade who has had to hold off wearing their college sweatshirts.   

Although as a current ninth grader, sometimes this rule seems frivolous, I’ll stick to my firm belief that college sweatshirts are not something I should get to wear yet. I can hear my “Senior self” applauding my current self for my determination to stick to this rule for six years, knowing how happy I will be to wear one in 12th grade, making all the waiting worth it.  

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