make-believe: first day of school.

September 13, 2017

I loved the first day of school as a kid, but I loved it equally much in college. Incredibly, in the first years of college, we would line up outside the main building on campus and present a paper list of courses to the registrar for consideration. Course list complete, I loved trying to be the first to the bookstore to get used copies of books and seeing the stack in my dorm room grow as I collected everything I’d be reading over the course of the semester. I loved the way the leaves on campus were still green but edging toward golden and that by the first day of classes, mornings that had only days before belonged firmly to summer were nearly 100 percent turned over to fall. My college days are long over, but here’s a little first day of school make-believe:

A canvas tote for hauling books.

A t-shirt for days that are still warm.

A bandana for tying back hair, or wrapping around your neck.

A new notebook, the color of bricks.

Indigo sneaks and pants to match.

Over-the-top sunglasses for voguing around campus.

A cappuccino mug for earlier mornings.

Colored pencils, not for preschoolers, only.

Fancy book darts for elevating your reading game.

A bum pack for stashing important stuff.

Action Items:

In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few things we can do to help young people in schools today:

For safe campuses: Host a teach-in. SAFER (Students Active for Ending Rape) bolsters student-led movements against sexual and interpersonal violence on college campuses across the US. If you’re a college student, request a teach-in to develop skills needed to change campus culture, get into the nitty-gritty of your school’s policy on sexual assault, and examine the power dynamics on your campus. If you’re not a student but would like to support the cause, consider making a donation.

For ending sexual assault: Join the conversation. It’s On Us makes it its goal to engage everyone in the conversation to end sexual violence. Whether you’re a student, teacher, parent, or community member, take the pledge to commit to supporting survivors, increasing bystander intervention, and working to create a culture of consent. Take it step further and utilize the It’s On Us tools like their consent discussion guide, survivor hotline, and tips for bystander intervention to become even more active in the conversation.

For staying educated: Watch The Hunting Ground. This documentary follows the stories of college-aged rape victims who face judgment and retaliation as they seek justice on their campuses. The Hunting Ground takes a closer look at the ways in which college administrations handle sexual assaults on campus, shedding light on the steps institutions take to cover up rape crimes in the name of protecting their name and brand. 

Available on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Lourdes September 13, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Ha! I love “for voguing around campus.” I am sporting brand new bright yellow clogs today at work and “voguing around” is EXACTLY what I’ve been doing all morning.

    And thank you for the Action Items, as always. I’ve been really upset in recent days with the news of DeVos’ dismantling Title IX protections, and it helps to know there are still ways to make our voices heard.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 13, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Me too! It’s unconscionable. Here’s to raising our voices.

  • Reply Christie September 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Ahhh, I miss college. I still live and work in a college town, so to an extent the schedule of the town does mimic the college schedule. But I know its different when come every Spring I get asked what I’m “doing” over the summer. (uh, working, like every day). I also am jealous of the excitement the students must feel every fall. I didn’t appreciate college while I was there. I think I would love it more now that I’ve been in the “real world” for 16 years.

  • Reply Lee September 14, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Thank you so much for including action items in these posts; when you started including them in your make believes it catapulted you, in my mind at least, to the top of the lifestyle pack. Aesthetic appreciation doesn’t have to be divorced from reality!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 14, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Thanks for your note, Lee!

  • Reply Nina September 19, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Like others, I really appreciate the action items included here, bringing a bit of reality to a fun [window-] shopping post. But – and I know you’ve addressed similar gripes in comments sections before – the prices of the pretty things shown are so waaaaay out of reach of any student I’ve ever met, that it seems almost a bit insulting. That t-shirt, for instance, costs what my student brother-in-law spends on food for 2-3 weeks. I know you know that virtually no student budget would stretch to any of this stuff, and I know it’s called “make believe”, but still… (And I say this from the UK, where university is still, I think, not quite as expensive as it is over there.)

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Hey there: I’ve chosen to bring the make-believe portion of these posts back to earth in the form of social activism instead of shopping. It’s not lost on me that lots of these items are out of reach for folks—college students or otherwise—but these posts are an opportunity for me to play around with shapes and color and design while also directing folks to thoughtfully made goods and related causes that need support.


    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments are moderated.