explain!: Dark academia is out! Dressing like your cool TA is in

Flipping to this article is probably not the way to become cool, nor a TA since that transition requires much more than just clothes, a wild amount of brain power and the drive of every snotty-nosed first-year political science student combined. But dressing like your cool TA is a philosophy, it’s a way of life.

To own the egotistical, financially insecure and largely sketchy role, dressing a certain way doesn’t fully make you a cool TA. But this guide can make you walk the walk and talk the talk.

No pockets

Don’t wear anything with pockets, god forbid you have easy access to your phone, much less your email. Your wallet is probably already relatively empty, so don’t worry about pocketing that anywhere.

Forget about convenience

Convenience? Comfort? Never heard of her. Backpacks are no longer the default — are you 12 years old? OK, baby — instead you must go for a second-hand leather crossbody bag despite the fact that the straps are likely falling apart and your laptop charger doesn’t exactly fit in it so you’ve got to wrestle with the zipper for the first half of class until you eventually give up and use your phone. That’s fine. You’re a cool TA.

Take a [insert] studies class

Film studies, theatre studies, museum studies (yes, that’s an option), romance studies — you get the gist. To really own the role, you’ve got to go to the most pretentious classes and mime along with the lecturer. Bonus points if you’re wearing the same clothes. Reminder: you’re embodying the lifestyle of a TA, so feel free to follow them home. Philosophy or physics also work, so long as it’s not an applied topic and you are only asked questions one can’t answer. Make sure to go ahead and say, “It’s up to interpretation,” to classmates who ask you questions on the coursework.

Have bad eyesight

Red, perhaps orange, glasses may do the trick. They’ve got to take up half of your face and must be real, regardless of if you need them or not. Make sure you don’t clean them — you’re too busy to wipe your glasses.

Invest in hair ties

Your hair can’t be in the way, so tie it up. Better yet, chop it all off. Loose hair past the shoulder is against COOPEY policy. Sorry.

You are always cold

Start with a turtleneck, maybe grab a vest, and then finish it off with a few jackets and a shawl, maybe a scarf, pair of mittens and a hat of some sort, oh and another shawl. The final touch is the overcoat — nothing will sell the act like a posh overcoat that looks like old money. The weather doesn’t matter, trust me. Also make sure to loudly complain about the room being really cold. It’s not enough until one of your students decides to sympathize with you in hopes of getting better feedback on an assignment you only skimmed.

If you really want to sell it, consider purchasing a blanket and tugging it along à la Linus. Make sure all your classmates see you frustratedly hugging it. You’ll look like you don’t care about anyone’s opinions, which to be fair, you likely don’t considering the fact you’re tugging along a blanket on a college campus.

This is part of The Ubyssey's 2023 spoof issue, explain!. To read more, click here.