Hello precious readers! Last week, I received this question (one of 112, in fact) in my google form: 

“Dear Katherine

I am very ‘over’ college. Tips for drinking the Kool-Aid once again?


SWUW (Senior Washed Up Woman) in Searles”

Dear SWUW in Searles,
Collegiate disillusionment is a burden that affects all of us at one point or another. Well actually, I have no idea whether it affects all of us. Who knows what you guys do. But it has certainly affected me.

My own disenchantment struck junior fall. “Woe is me!” I thought, “I am so disillusioned.” I spent four months holed up in Chambo, writing about myself on the Internet and getting Snapea Crisp dust on my sheets. I began to identify with vitriolic Huffington Post commenters and trolls who hide under bridges and attack goats. 

When Chambo felt claustrophobic (which is to say, almost always), I would escape to Portland to sit in coffee shops. There, I would eavesdrop on presumably equally disillusioned middle-aged people as they talked to friends or random passers-by about their STDs. I had become a little feral. I was having A Hard Time.

Disillusionment can be paralyzing. And while I may belittle my own angst, it was a symptom of real anxiety produced by a series of personal heartbreaks. All this goes to say that I understand long-term disengagement to be a poor attempt at self-care—that by not investing yourself in anything, you are somehow being self-protective.Turns out, this is stupid. 

Often when I think about self-care, I think of it as an excuse to watch five consecutive episodes of “Sex in the City” with my housemates while eating several pounds of Sour Patch Kids from the deli down the street. Shockingly, that is actually not what self-care is. Self-care is identifying better ways to live in order to be healthier and happier—and sometimes, unfortunately, means discipline instead of indulgence.

If you are disillusioned, self-care is probably not marathons of ’90s TV in your bed. Here are my two suggestions to you:

1.  Stop referring to enjoying college as “drinking the Kool-Aid.” That’s like, maybe an exaggeration. Also, we don’t even have Kool-Aid in the dining hall. Also, I wish we did, because Kool-Aid is fucking delicious.
2.  Get dressed. “But I am dressed!” you may say, as you look down at the sweatpants that you don’t even like, which you have been wearing for three days. To which I respond: that is not dressed.

Get dressed with intention. Don’t just wear the sweater you slept in last night. Stop bending down to grab those stained cords off the floor. When you make meaningful choices about the clothes you make at the beginning of the day, you’re setting yourself up for a day rooted in other meaningful choices (which is to say, un-disillusionment).

Wear clothes that allow you to engage with other people. For example, for me this year, that meant overcoming my oppressive laziness to wear a toga to Epicuria so that I could partake in the ritual toga-making process.

Wear clothes that make you feel fucking fabulous. Choose to be visible because you deserve to be visible.* If you don’t own clothes like that, go get some from Freeport or the Internet or Salvo or your best friend’s closet or sew/knit/crochet them with your own hands.

Wear a Big bird suit around campus, sport Google Glass at graduation, dye your hair chartreuse. Getting dressed means different things for everyone—a favorite pair of running shorts, the sunglasses that you found abroad, a suit for your Deloitte interview**, your hoverboard, because who cares what the haters say on Yik Yak. Live your weird little truth. But do it with intention, without laziness, with care.

Also, please submit a comment card about the Kool-Aid.
*this line may or may not have been plagiarized from a fortune cookie.
**which you will inevitably wear for much longer than necessary.