Holiday Spirit Through the Eyes of University Students

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Delta Kananaskis Lodge

This past weekend I attended two events requiring holiday fashion with a slightly formal dress code. ‘Tis the season. One was a corporate event. It was lovely but there’s not much noteworthy to share. The other was a student how-to fashion show where I showed looks and explained etiquette and fit. The idea is that you hear from those in the know so that you don’t make a fool – or dress like one - when you start your career.

That was all fine and good. What was interesting to me that night was what went on before and after hosting the show. See, I was watching the room. I was watching the students. And the watching was fascinating.

I noticed a few things that night. Of course there was the usual mix of poorly dressed (rather underdressed), okay looks, and the sartorially stellar. But what was palpable was the energy in the air. All these young people are together, curious and focused about their future. They are hungry for the quickest route to gain more experience that would lend well for their budding careers. It’s pretty infectious. Or maybe I was nostalgic.

I attended the same event many years before as a student and remember some of how it felt. You were interested in what the speakers and fashion experts shared but felt that somehow, you defied the rules. You felt that you were exempt from the advice or that you were special. I believed that I would create my own path and that not all of it was for me. I sensed a lot of that sentiment in the room. I felt fortunate and a touch smug to see it from the other side.

As I reflected, I think it’s a part of being young. It’s a part the student experience of post secondary education. Those four or so years are a bit of a buffet; you take what you like and while you may try some items, you don’t have to eat the whole thing. Mix in a bit of the holiday spirit and you’ve got the night’s mood nailed.

There were other things happening, too. I also sensed the desire to belong. Not necessarily in the cool club (whatever that is I’ll never know) but to belong in a room with peers. Knowing that you have peers that have similar aspirations and interests as you. Back to cool, maybe it is as simples as wanting to be shoulder to shoulder at a posh event in downtown Calgary.

I remember how good it felt to be out, dressed up, and ready for whatever the night brought. It was thrilling to know that the world was out there, waiting for you and you were going to grab it by the jingle bells. Simply put, it was new and my career was on the horizon. It was my life I was creating for myself. Thanks to this event I remind myself how exciting was it all to feel all that.

This holiday while I whisk from one party to the next I’m going to try and savour. I’ll try to take a moment to reminisce how it felt, so many years ago, to have the spirit of the season in my heart and hope for what my life would be like after convocation.

Even now, there are not many things I can think more fun than going somewhere new, dressed up, and spending an evening with ambitious people. ‘Tis the season indeed.