As many third years feeling a sudden upsurge in coursework, expectations, reading, stress and many other great things, I have spent quite a bit of time in the library. These hours of studying and procrastinating have led to many (highly subjective) observations: the top floor is a frozen tundra but has the best water fountain, the hot water dispensers contain water which seems to come straight from the bowels of hell, and certain seagulls seem to be intent on making as much noise as possible, specifically on the side of the little boxes of the silent section. However, one of the most puzzling phenomena that you can observe if you spend too much time at the library is the wide array of outfits that people wear.
Much has been written about the fact that St Andrews is a microcosm of fashion, making students like me feel both inspiration and a tinge of shame in the face of the Olsen twin lookalikes roaming the streets. We have approximately a million fashion shows, and as many models in our student body, but these style differences are nowhere as apparent as they are in the library. A student with a Hermès handbag and clothes straight off a Cecilie Bahnsen runway sits next to another enveloped in the thickest groutfit anyone has ever seen, tank tops meet thick wool sweaters, bleached hair bobs up and down to the rhythm of earphones, chairs covered with Barbour jackets touch others covered in yellow raincoats. You see people in brands that you can only find in certain countries, like Sandro and Lululemon, with their hair up, down, covered with woolen hats or held back by headbands.
It could be easy to make broad and false generalizations about these observations, to say “Ah if you’re part of this society, if you’re from this place, if you’re wealthy you wear this,” but this is not the point of this article. What this wealth of outfits and fashion in the library shows is that no matter who we are individually, we are all students. We’re united by the same goal of getting an education and having fun on the road. While it might be at varying degrees, we all have the same worries about classes, group projects, pedantic scholars whose academic articles seem designed to confuse us. We’ve all opened up Facebook and thrown productivity down the drain. Every girl has waited in line for the bathroom, everyone has heard a phone ring in the silent section. Even if you are one of the courageous ones who has woken up early to go to the fancy library, we all daydream of looking into the horizon or at a blank wall at least a few times. Or if you’re like me, you look at outfits, ponder whether you’re being a creep by admiring this or that item of clothing a bit too long, online shop, and writing this article. So please St Andrews, keep it up and good luck studying to us all!