Bettendorf High School students explore new ways to showcase their individuality

Taylor Faubert shows off her new hair color as a result of her "Glow-up."

While quarantine was implemented across the United States, Bettendorf students found a hobby to fill their time: self expression. Many updated their wardrobes and learned new skills, all to show their inner identities on the outside.

In an article with “Allure,” therapist Nikki Nachum explained, “An external change can be a simple and easy way to signify a transition that is internally more complex and harder to articulate otherwise.”

The pandemic took a toll on everyone, including teenagers, who were taken out of school halfway through the year. But while students were at home and away from social standards, it became easier to express themselves.

“I’ve managed to be more confident in what I like and wear versus trying to look like others. I’ve focused a lot on how I want to portray myself through how I dress and look,” said Taylor Faubert.

New clothing pieces were a highlight for those spending time inside. Many played with new fabrics, colors, and styles.

“I’ve become more confident in myself because I created tons of cute outfits and actually learned how to do my hair,” said Loukia Constantinides. “I like to wear more pastel colors, skirts, and things like that now.”

Another change frequently made was hair alterations; dyeing or cutting hair is one of the easiest ways to show individuality. Similarly, students tried an array of makeup looks combined with a new hairdo.

“I dyed my hair periodically. Right now it is half black and half blonde. I do more exotic makeup looks too, such as thick eyeliner, lipstick, blush, eyeshadow looks, and glitter,” said Faubert.

“If makeup makes me feel good, or doing my hair makes me feel good, I’ll do it. If not doing your makeup feels good right now, instead use that time to do something else,” said Stefanie Schwartz, a psychologist at Baptist Behavioral Health who spoke about the positive effects that getting dressed and changing styles can have on mental health in an interview with “The Huffington Post.”

“This may sound really silly, but for those of us who go and get our nails done, this may be the first time we’re having to do that ourselves,” Schwartz said. “Anything small you can do to feel empowered and feel that positivity is great. We can’t go to the hairdresser and cover our grays right now, so we’re learning new skills and that can be empowering,”

A difficult aspect of quarantine for many was staying on a consistent schedule and being mindful of mental and physical health. Nonetheless sticking to a routine is still a vital part of a student's life because staying stable was just as important as self-expressing.

“I wanted to play varsity football and I knew the only way I could do that is if I stayed healthy. I also gained an extra 15-25 lbs of muscle,” said Amaree Hawkins. “I lifted everyday, ate good meals and played basketball.”

Though this year has been difficult for many it has also changed the way that students look at themselves, making them feel more confident and ready to show the world who they are. The trend of 2020 is self-expression and it's a movement that Bett students will keep in style for a long time to come.


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