Now that the presidential campaign — replete with spam, robocalls and SNL skits — has begun to recede into the background, two words come to mind: now what? Our pseudo-divided campus is mostly euphoric, and the next big "thing" at Penn involves eating our body weight in turkey while cranking out papers from now until December.
This is the epiphany I have as I walk out of my house this morning. I'm dressed, as always, for the tabloids (you dress for your success, I'll dress for mine). My Ray-Bans are on, my BlackBerry is abuzz, Mark Ronson blasts on my iPod. I am ready for the long day ahead.
I am fashionably derivative. Some days I am Lauren Conrad shopping on Rodeo, other days Reese Witherspoon walking Atticus (Jake Gyllenhaal's dog, duh). I've tried Blair Waldorf at birthday dinners, and I've rocked Rachel Bilson footwear with a Rachel Zoe faux fur coat when I'm by myself in my room. This morning, to the horror of my housemates and every other discerning viewer of The Soup, I am dressed as Heidi Montag waiting for Spencer Pratt backstage at Letterman. I realize, even as I choose my clothes, that I have reached a cultural cul-de-sac, where I am the only one left who knows what I am talking about.
But the epiphany? It is the morning after everything, and I am a Ronson-rocking Montag montage. I walk past the Metropolitan Bakery and check myself out in the window. And what I see is myself, lost. After months of focusing outward — on the high style of Obama and the low crankiness of McCain, on the politics of the world and the world of politics — suddenly I'm alone again in the mirror. I wonder, where the hell am I going next?
Alas, we seem to have passed the mid-year hump, which means our seniors (myself included) are in full-throttle malaise. And, unfortunately, we're just going to have to keep on truckin' until the "change" of winter vacation.