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My Biggest Shopping Regret Is Never Buying a College Sweatshirt

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A vintage Yale sweatshirt
A vintage Yale sweatshirt for sale on

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Before I turned 20, I had already attended three different colleges. My first was an art school in Philadelphia, when I thought I wanted to be a photographer (and then a painter, and then a woodworker).

The second was a community college in New Jersey, where I tinkered with the idea of becoming an English professor while I lived at home with my parents and worked as a nurse's aid and at a Bath & Body Works in the mall.

The third — and final — school I attended was Hunter College in Manhattan, where class was more of a thing I did for a few hours during the day, in-between work and hanging out with friends.

I got a lot out of all these schools. First and foremost, a great education. I took a James Joyce class where we drank wine and ate gizzards on our last day. I studied Italian for three years and managed to be somewhat conversational when talking to my grandmother. I took beginner's ballet and loved it even though I was not good enough to advance to intermediate. I learned how to draw naked human bodies and paint with some actual technique and make a clay mold of my face.

There's just something so classic about a college sweatshirt.I became strangely obsessed with Ancient Rome. I read every single Wallace Steven poem that exists. I took a Zen Buddhism class that somehow satisfied three separate requirements, making it the only reason I graduated on time. I did an independent study with a certified Hot Professor who I'm pretty sure knew I was in love with him.

But there’s one thing I didn’t get, and I regret it till this day. I never bought a college sweatshirt — and I could have bought three. Right now, I could be walking around in this $58 Champion Hunter College Full-Zip Hooded Sweatshirt, or this terrific dad-esque Raritan Valley Community College Golden Lions Men's 9oz Hooded Sweatshirt. Or really, any of these.

There's just something so classic about a college sweatshirt. They're so casual and comfortable looking, but also serious and assertive. A navy blue one would be perfect with denim cut-offs and tennis sneakers. A maroon zip-up hoodie would look great with all of my workout leggings. And a soft, worn, faded heather gray would go with absolutely everything. I would sleep in it all the time.

Like cropped flares and bra chains, a college sweatshirt is something I want desperately but I just can't bring myself to buy. I missed my chance. That doesn't mean I don’t think about it all the time. For now, I’ll have to settle for my Reformation "Feelings" sweatshirt, which, to be fair, I could have majored in as well.