A university jacket is called ‘a walking student ID’ because it indicates one’s social rank. We are already familiar with this idea. Similarly, throughout our high-school years, we wore school uniforms. They were timeless classics and indicated that he or she belongs to a specific school. A university jacket also does the same thing. A university’s initials, name, department and entrance year are written on the jacket. Students draw up a draft design themselves, so the clothes reflect students’ personality.
An official of an on-line shopping mall which specializes in making university jackets said that in times past, students attending the so-called prestigious universities from Korean society such as Seoul National University were the ones who ordered university jackets, but nowadays, students from nearly all universities are ordering university jackets. It now means that wearing a jacket is a universal act in Korean university campus culture.
The reason why this act is becoming more common is that by wearing a university jacket, students feel a connection with other students, and can identify themselves as part of a group. Simultaneously, it helps them distinguish themselves from others. This helps students to feel a sense of belonging and to make closer student ties.
“Why are you wearing a university jacket?” In response to this question, Kim Jun-sik, a student at Dongguk, answered that he thought that by sharing a symbol of group like this jacket with each other, students could feel a strong sense of belonging. Finally, it helps to improve the efficiency of groups working together.
Considering that Korean society regards school names as being important, students wear the jacket to show off one’s ability or educational background. If one student wears a prestigious university’s jacket, people think that the student has an impressive education and maybe he or she will be proud of it. Actually, some students answered that they are somewhat proud of their school name and want to flaunt it by wearing the jacket. This has led some experts to say that this jacket symbolizes the evils of an academic clique.
Students also wear a university jacket because it offers students convenience. What is meant here is that every morning, university students worry about what to wear. At this time, students can simply put on their university jacket without worrying about how they look. Considering that youths are very concerned about their appearance and are aware of the way other people are looking at them, a university jacket is a very convenient piece of clothing.
All groups have their own representative symbol. A group of students in Korean universities wear a common jacket and have their say about their position in society. A university jacket is not just a jacket anymore. By wearing this jacket, students don’t mean just promoting communal spirit, or bringing attention to themselves. That is, it is a different way of presenting themselves.
Kim Yu-young firstname.lastname@example.org
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