Students amass a variety of unusual objects in order to establish a sense of individuality
Sophomore Susan Blythe-Goodman flips through a handful of dollar bills in her blue-and-red-trimmed bedroom. "Forty dollars," she sighs. Only half the money needed to buy the Superman bedspread that she has been dying to add to her Superman collection since her craze began seven years ago.
Blythe-Goodman's affinity for collecting is common among Blair students. According to an informal Silver Chips survey of 100 students conducted during the week of Oct 7, 33 percent feel an urge to collect that ranges from a passion for purses to a soft spot for squirrel skins.
Blythe-Goodman's infatuation began at her grandfather's Kansas home, where she watched her first episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Her collection now includes two Superman lunch boxes, a Superman milk jar, 11 Superman-themed shirts and several Superman dolls and action figures.
She attributes her love of the reporter in blue-and-red spandex to his congeniality and overall "good guy" image. "He has a special power, and he always uses it for good," says Blythe-Goodman. "He's a sweet and funny guy, and I just love him."
Ten years ago, senior Andre Ferguson was inspired to join the collection trend started by his schoolmates. "Everybody in elementary school had his or her own collections," he says. "I just wanted to have my own." He succeeded: His collection now includes 300 rocks of all sorts.
Hobby or obsession?
Collections can have emotional meaning, says psychologist Martha Faraday of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. According to Faraday, they can bring a sense of control.
For sophomore Patrick Brice, the reward of hunting was enough motivation to begin a collection of his own. "Every time I get a new species or a record book, I'll put it up on the wall," he says.
Sreedevi Damodaran, a psychiatrist from the Yale University-affiliated Waterbury Hospital, says collections may be more than mere pastimes. "Collections are a mild form of compulsion," she says. "But they're not uncommon or abnormal."
Earning and burning
Of course, having a collection comes with the often costly task of maintaining it. Blazers who have collected for years ultimately spend a significant amount of money on these collectibles.
Blythe-Goodman uses about half of her allowance to pay for her Superman paraphernalia, totaling about $20 monthly. "My Superman [collection] is the one thing I do spend money on," she says.
Ferguson, who spends $100 of his $300 to $500 monthly salary on rocks, sees no problem devoting so much time and money to his collection because he has so much interest in rocks. "Most people consider rocks dull," says Ferguson. "I consider things out of the ordinary fascinating."
Brice has spent more than $1,000 on hunting. He justifies spending so much of his income on his hobby because of the timelessness of his purchases.
Brice denies the notion that his passion will ever die. "Hunting is something I'm going to continue forever," he states. "[Quitting] would be like grabbing out my heart and holding it out in front of me."
Sreela Namboodiri. Sreela, who is now a SENIOR, especially enjoys walking around with her feet, dancing in front of her mirror to techno, taking cold showers and playing with her imaginary bulldog, Big Mac. She hopes to one day learn how to play guitar correctly, start a … More »