2017-12-29 / Education

College representing

By Hanah Watts, local high school student

Hanah Watts Hanah Watts Having pride in one’s school is a major factor in American culture. And when I say school, I mean colleges.

Columbia is a college town, and if you are in a group of more than five people, then it is a high probability at least one person is sporting Gamecock gear. (Or less common, but still a numerous amount, Clemson merchandise.) It is as normal to us as tying our shoes every morning…you wear the colors of the college you support.

I recently discovered in Europe this is an uncommon practice! Really?

Parents of young children in Europe do not dress them in adorable sweatshirts with college mascots. And apparently, after you leave college, you do not continue to wear clothing that advertises your team.

My understanding is the amount of emphasis Americans place on collegiate level sports surpasses the Europeans by leaps and bounds as it is simply not a popular thing to wear in Europe.

Any given day, as I walk down the hallways at school, there are students wearing shirts, jackets, and hats representing a variety of colleges. There are always kids wearing Gamecock and Clemson apparel, and there are typically several Georgia and Florida shirts thrown into the mix.

And who can forget the seniors who have been accepted into a top tier college and decided to wear a shirt advertising their achievements in life.

I mean, you can tell a great deal about a person just by looking at what university they are wearing. It seems the ones wearing Gamecock or Clemson shirts are the ones whose parents likely went to one of the two schools and have been dressing their child in orange or garnet since birth. The pride they have for their Gamecocks or Tigers is real.

There are also the seniors who start wearing a hoodie from some obscure school. They were presumably accepted to that college. Some walk around with clothing that mentions a specific department of the university. They probably went to a camp there and/or are interested in attending that university.

The Ivy sweatshirts, well those students are probably exceedingly smart and have dreamed about attending that school for as long as they can remember.

And, let’s not forget those who wear collegiate gear they received as a gift because they have an older sibling currently attending that school.

In the U.S., college apparel is seen everywhere you go. Pride is strong. I mean, what else have you to do all day but argue over what team is better; the one you are wearing or the one your friend is wearing?

When you wear a team logo or colors, it is like a stand of solidarity…like a huge family.

People in Europe are obviously deprived of that look you give other people when they are representing the same university as you. How do they survive? How is a university covered piece of clothing not a staple in their closet?

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