Animal House, Old School and other college movies portray university life as a laidback, drunken experience. This is not true.
Obviously there are opportunities to relax and have fun, but university life is much better suited to the mature, civilized student. Not only does a lifestyle of style and sophistication win you respect from peers and show you’re no longer in high school, but will contribute to an overall better standard of living.
Everything starts with proper grooming. Before you speak a word, people will judge you on your appearance and even your smell. Many students may not have time to spend styling their hair for an hour in the morning, maybe not even time to shave, but proper grooming does not require an obscene amount of time.
In fact, it can even be quick and cheap. A simple solution is to opt for a more conservative, economical hairstyle. Something that can be thrown into a bun, tied back or short enough that you can role out of bed and still look professional.
Slicking your hair back with a pound of gel or using half a bottle of hairspray only takes up time and money. For those men lucky enough to be able to grow a beard, I say let it grow.
A trim, nicely kept beard is much more attractive than a rushed shave or scattered stubble.
Keeping your fingernails trimmed and clean, showering daily and avoiding heavily scented perfumes and colognes all add to a polished, well respected student.
The phrase “dress for success” may be a cliché, but how you present yourself is important. If you look like you just went to class in what you slept in, the professor will most likely not think too much of you. This doesn’t mean you need to start studying fashion magazines to figure out what to wear, it only takes a few simple basics.
For men, a pair of good fitting dark jeans can be used for any occasion. Fancy it up with a dress shirt or play it casual with a t-shirt. Switch out the hoodies and sneakers for a slim-fitting sweater and leather shoes.
Woman can opt for jeans, plain black slacks or even a comfortable A-line skirt will prove to be multi-functional. Pair with a simple white tee or an elegant blouse, depending on occasion and mood. Avoid things like pajama pants and crocs as they are comfortable, but hardly appropriate
Branch out — you’re at university to learn so you might as well develop your social education as well.
Take advantage of places like the Black Hole Theatre and go see a play. Go see a symphony, ballet or opera, anything that will give you something to think about and discuss with other people.
People are more likely to listen to you if you sound like you know what’s going on. At the same time, don’t pretend you know everything; you’ll only sound like an idiot. Instead, focus on asking relevant questions. People love to share their knowledge.
Separate yourself from the bar-stars and skip on the shots. No one is expecting you to order martinis, but maybe a rye and coke or vodka and cranberry juice will show you are a little more refined. Go for quality over quantity and pay little more for an imported beer or a fine Scotch. Have fun with being fancy and go to a wine tasting.
Be polite. Avoid swearing — it only makes you look cheap — hold open doors, say thank you and please. Not only does this elevate your status but people are more likely to help you if you are nice.
Ease yourself into being sophisticated. If you aren’t comfortable in a suit and tie or swirling a snifter of brandy it will show. Just be yourself — only better. It takes time to develop taste, be patient. If you still find yourself confused, remember that simpler is better. Keep yourself neat and tidy. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”