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On-Campus Quirks: The necessity for rainy day attire on BC's campus

Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Although Sandy spared our campus, save for the few tree casualties (the one in front of the Career Center is an omen), judging by students’ attire, we were more than prepared. Perhaps this is my West Coast perspective, but a definite campus quirk is our total obsession with rainy day outfits. Before Boston College, I don’t think I even owned a raincoat—San Francisco has half as many rainy days as Boston annually. As a kid, I spent those days pondering my dad’s galoshes and Paddington Bear. Later, in high school, my rainy-day routine consisted of double-parking in front of the building and sprinting into school, hoping my school-issued parking permit would save me from the patrolling rent-a-cops. Rain was an odd occurrence, so why would I have owned a multitude of rain gear? You can imagine my surprise when I saw the jackets, Wellington boots, and umbrellas that came out on the first rainy day of my freshman year.


BC students prepare, and prepare well, for those rainy days. Rain apparel seems to be the only constant in students’ closets since … well, since I’ve been here, which is as much as I can say. But seriously, rainy days are like what fashion week would be if it came to Seattle. I must admit I fully partake in the hype. I’ve been known to walk through every puddle I can, and I may or may not be actively searching for a pair of rain flats after I saw those of my roommate. Sometimes, I play a game called “count the North Face jackets.” (This game can also be played by substituting “jackets” with “Hunter boots.”) As I’m sure you all can guess, this number gets rather high, so much so that my math skills receive a much-needed refresher. But seriously, does anyone else find it rather amusing that any chance of rain causes much of the population to dress as if they are going deep-sea fishing in a torrential storm? Also notable is people’s questionable use of umbrellas. Some complain certain umbrella users are not aware of their greater circumference, resulting in eyeball poking—the reason I follow a strict no-umbrella policy. Others discuss those peculiar bubble umbrellas (our school is a bubble already, must you be in a bubble within a bubble?) Whether you’re an umbrella person or not, you all freaking love to dress for the weather.

In the rare occurrence when we are—gasp—surprised by precipitation, students huddle under O’Neill’s overhang, totally bewildered by this wrench nature has thrown in their day. I’m an avid people-watcher and these days are some of my favorites simply because of the total bafflement on students’ faces. Also funny is when everyone expects rain … but it doesn’t come. Then our once awesome outfits look ridiculous. I guess all of this is because we go to an elite institution—we only got here because we each have a certain level of preparedness. On these days where the weather and our outfits conflict, we feel our meticulous preparations have somehow failed us.

Although I joke about BC’s love of rain wear and connect it to our ability to face challenges (those literal and figurative rainy days), in all seriousness, nothing could have prepared those who are victims of Hurricane Sandy. The absolute devastation of entire communities and regions can only be described as catastrophic, and the growing looting and violence is downright awful. Thus, it gives me some pause as to how to appropriately discuss this particular campus quirk. Yes, BC students have a quirky love of rain gear. Yes, we do love being prepared sometimes to the point of excessiveness, but I also know BC students to be generous and compassionate. Perhaps it’s time to define rainy days not by our outfits, but by our generosity, to dip into our rainy day funds and help communities rebuild. Truth be told, I think I’ll pass on the rain flats—I think there’s a greater need somewhere else.


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