Please shelf all expectations of this being a modesty plea. Just because leggings are in the title gives no requirement that I preach a sermon on modesty, and I have no intention of doing so.
I don’t wear leggings to class because I believe in a code of conduct which some might call old-fashioned and others might deem pompous. Yet I don’t believe it’s so outdated.
Anyone who has taken a class with Dr. Richard Smith knows exactly what I’m talking about. He always arrived to Latin class in a suit, prepared to discuss absolutely anything about the assigned reading or translation for the day. He carried with him an air of respect for his students, calling us by our last names, that inspired rather than demanded our respect in return. And he knew Latin like no one I have ever met before.
My question for you is this: Do we respect our professors enough to give back to them what they have given us?
Think about it. That man or woman in the front of your classroom has invested an entire lifetime into gaining knowledge of a particular subject so that he or she can impart it to you. These individuals have spent countless hours preparing this class for you, teaching it to you, and many hours outside the classroom grading, meeting with students and working to continually advance their knowledge on the subject.
I’d like to offer a few thoughts on how we can better show our respect for our professors and our college education.
Come to class on time. As a commuter this year, I understand that sometimes you have to de-ice the car when you didn’t plan on it. Sometimes a friend needs you to be there for him or her. But walking in late should be the exception, not the rule.
Dress up. When we don’t make an effort to dress up, it actually does affect our mentality. We are incarnate beings, and the way we dress affects the rest of our behavior — the physical is not isolated from the spiritual, the emotional and the intellectual. The day I fail to dress up for a final will be the day I fail a final, because dressing up prepares me physically in order to do the intellectual work required to pass that final.
Students coming to class looking like they just woke up isn’t something that should just bother me. It shows a lack of respect for our professors, who dress up and come prepared to the classroom. We’ve come to this university to learn from them; so, in a sense, we owe them our deference. If we show up to class in leggings and sweat pants, it’s a message to them that we couldn’t be bothered to treat them with the respect they deserve. It takes the same amount of effort to pull on another pair of pants as it does to pull on sweat pants or leggings (unless you slept in them, which is another topic altogether).
It’s not just about respect for our professors, either. What happened to the sense of class and prestige which used to accompany people who were fortunate enough to earn a college education? It’s something to be proud of, and not something to be taken for granted. We are privileged, we are blessed, and we ought to dress in a way that shows our appreciation for this opportunity.
Maybe you don’t have enough nice clothes to dress up every day of the week. I certainly didn’t as a freshman, and that’s completely fine. You don’t have to wear your Sunday best every day. Yet we all have the option to be well-groomed and clean, wearing what we do have well.
Finally, never give up on yourself or your professors. Even if that professor isn’t your favorite, he or she can teach you something about life. I don’t care if you don’t like the class — don’t give up on learning something. You owe your professors that much.
So, what are you wearing tomorrow?