I grew up in California and decided to move to Georgia for college. Wow! People are always shocked by the jump and ask me about my transition to the Bible Belt. Little do they know, I did my research. I watched the Youtube videos, I followed the Instagrams, I read the blogs. Millennials really do have it easy in the social media age; I was a southern girl before I even stepped foot in the state. When I arrived in Creswell on move in day, monogram necklace around my throat, Jack Rogers on my feet and Georgia merch packed away in my many suitcases, I was approached by a monster I was not prepared to meet. The Big T Shirt. All around me were girls in T shirts that would fit their sweaty dads moving futons up the dorm staircase. This was something I was not prepared for. I did not see these on the instagrams. What about my research? If I have learned anything as a marketing student, college style was falsely advertised.
Now, as a junior at UGA, I have also been swallowed by the depths of The Big T Shirt. As a foreigner in this state, The Big T Shirt has become a part of Georgia to me. I would never dare wear my XL’s around my hometown, but here, they feel like home. Each shirt came from an event I went to, a team I support, or a club I joined. Each shirt a memory of my ever fading time here in the Classic City. My friends from home send me messages asking why we dress “so gross” in public. My mom asks me “you’re wearing that?” in disgust when she visits. I wake up late and still make it to class in time, because I can literally wear my pajamas to class. Every day, my clothing stockholm syndrome becomes stronger and I get closer and closer to the monster of The Big T Shirt.
Edging upon my graduation, I fear the day I have to wear clothes that fit me again. The Big T Shirt has convinced me that the Freshman 15 isn’t that noticeable, and neither are the Sophomore 20 and Junior 10. But the matching suit I had to buy from the J Crew downtown isn’t nearly as kind. As my older friends get closer to their graduation this May, I see them wearing jeans and fitted tops to class, as if they are weaning themself off the drug of The Big T shirt, to make the withdrawal hurt less next fall. Although The Big T Shirt has become a joke in my life and this blog, I can’t help but be sad when I see older girls in my sorority sell off their shirts to the younger girls for the next Big-Little reveal. Jack Rogers went out of style and I broke my monogram necklace, but my collection of the monster I once feared grows to the point of an overflowing drawer. Each XL represents a day I spent in the classic city. Although change is good, I know when I put my T shirts away and move out, I will miss Athens and the age of The Big T Shirt. However, I am thinking of maybe making a blanket of them and bringing them from house to house as I grow older. This way I can always have Athens close, and my future children’s fear of “the monster in the closet” just might be justified.