Stickers have become a staple in college culture and their recent popularity is easy to see; it’s nearly impossible to go anywhere without spotting a laptop covered in them. Collaging the back of your laptop with stickers has become a common trend among students. It’s a way to individualize your laptop and subtly tell the world a bit about yourself.
I sat down with a group of students at the library and asked them about their stickers, what prompted them to buy them and what their stickers mean to them.
The common theme was that people bought their stickers because they saw others with them and they seemed like an interesting conversation starter to meet new people.
“It’s not exactly peer pressure, but upon coming here and looking around… all the cool kids have stickers on their laptops,” Ally Julien, a second-semester statistics major, said. “When you’re using your laptop, you can’t see the stickers. But there’s this assumption that other people are looking at them, and maybe you’ll make friends with similar interests.”
Natalie Roach, a second-semester environmental sciences and human rights major, had a similar experience.
“My friend had stickers and they were really pretty, so that was my first experience with them,” Roach said. “I came into college and wanted an easy way for conversations to start that was more passive for once because I initiated most of my conversations with people.”
She got her stickers from Redbubble, the same website most people get theirs from. She wanted her laptop to express her interests, so the outside of her Mac is covered in a lot of social justice stickers and references to TV shows that not everyone would immediately understand.
“I didn’t see a point in putting on stickers for big TV shows because like… everyone watches those shows,” said Roach. “I actually met a friend because I had a ‘West Wing’ sticker and he asked me about it.”
Second-semester political science major Harry Zehner had a different approach to the science of laptop stickers. His laptop acts similarly to a travel journal, and he acquires his stickers over time as he visits places. He got one in New Orleans while on vacation and another while in D.C.
“Don’t get them from Redbubble when they all have the white outline,” Zehner said. “It’s best to accumulate them over time. They mean more that way.”
While people typically use their laptop stickers to express themselves, they’ve also become a method of advertisement for various clubs and organizations, both on and off campus. Most people I talked to had UConn stickers on their laptops, and a handful of others had stickers for places like the Benton and WHUS.
“I love how stickers express a lot and easily and visually get messages across,” Mara Tu, a second-semester environmental sciences major, said. “I love UConn’s ‘We resist together’ movement and I’m glad I can support it. I think different groups on campus can really utilize that kind of awareness.”
Roach agreed with this idea.
“This is a platform to get information out there into the world. It’s very effective,” Roach said.
Mostly, though, it was fun to see people’s faces light up when they were asked about their stickers. They seemed genuinely happy and excited to talk about them.
“We got some [stickers of] puppies cause this one looks like it’s licking me all the time and it’s great. And this cat’s just… I don’t know. I just really like this cat,” Christina Middendorf, a fourth-semester animal science and pathobiology double major, said. “Stickers are adorable. They’re a lot of fun.”
Courtney Gavitt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.