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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fly your pop culture freak flags

    Sarah Devlin columnist
    Sarah Devlin
    columnist

    It’s week two of the school year, and while our campus’s diversity and sprawl is exciting, it’s easy to feel insignificant when you attend a school the size of a small city. Chances are, you’ve already heard the standard maxims for finding your people: take an interesting class, join a club, go greek.

    I propose an alternative ice-breaker: get weird. Not eating your hair weird or refusing to bathe weird, but rather, willing to incorporate heretofore secret (and maybe not so cool) interests into your collegiate identity. As you enter a school to expand your intellectual horizons, why not embrace your guilty pleasures as well?

    I’ll start: I actually own what may be the only DVD of “”Ice Princess”” ever sold. I know. No one is ever going to take me or my column seriously again. Am I proud that I’m the lone bearer of witness to Joan Cusack and Kim Cattrall’s greatest career low? Not necessarily. Is there any artistic, social or intellectual value to be found in this movie? Decidedly not. Is it hilarious? Well, the central conflict is a high school senior being forced to choose between Harvard and feeling pretty. You decide.

    Quality aside, an obscure or strange interest could be the gateway to new connections on campus. Consider this: the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership lists literally several hundred student organizations and clubs available to you. Did you know that we have an entire club for “”Ryuseiken Batto-Do”” enthusiasts? Their tagline boasts “”Interested in katanas? You’ve come to the right place!”” I dare you to find me a high school that has ever been able to satisfy someone’s katana fetish.

    The club’s Web site reveals that the group is for martial arts devotees who want to develop their sparring skills. It’s a comforting thought that our university provides opportunities to explore even the most unusual hobbies, a demonstration of its commitment to making every student feel like they belong somewhere. And with the most recent enrollment statistics for the UA listing a student body of 36,805, what better way to find your niche than to put your weirdest foot forward?

    So why aren’t we all flying our pop culture freak flags? Why am I the only person brave enough to tell people that this summer I saw “”Next”” – a movie containing 45 minute dream sequence – not once, but twice?

    Chances are you’ve already heard the standard maxims for finding your people … I propose an alternative ice breaker: get weird.

    Your natural reaction is probably that I’m just embarrassingly upfront about the lame things that I love, and you’re not wrong. I do take a certain perverse pleasure in testing my friends’ willingness to continue talking to me after the Spice Girls show up on my iPod when we’re trapped in a car. But the benefits to reveling in your uncool obsessions go beyond the ability to instantly clear your social calendar for months to come.

    Admittedly, a lot of my love for ridiculous pop culture is ironic, although I’m sure there is someone out there who believes the Spice Girls were great, unappreciated artists (they weren’t) or that “”Ice Princess”” is an overlooked masterpiece (it’s not). Feeling proud, or at least unembarrassed, of my brain candy reminds me to take myself a little less seriously and relax.

    With the heightened pressure placed on university students today, Oprah’s concerned 2001 exposǸ on the “”quarter-life crisis”” and the Princeton Review reporting a 79 percent retention rate at our school, we should remember to find outlets for our stress, even if that means enduring some judgment for our more eccentric pastimes. I recognize that for many of us, these are our most pretentious years – the stereotype of the drunken undergrad arguing Marxist theory to whomever will listen is alive and well for a reason. It’s also okay to have a little bit of “”Ice Princess”” in your life. After all, I’m still a smart girl with only marginally diminished credibility, right? Hey, where are you going?

    Opening up to new people and experiences is always difficult, but feeling self-conscious about the things you enjoy will sideline you during one of the most exciting periods of your life. At a school this size, with so many interests represented, I guarantee there are people out there as weird as you are. These unique interests help us to forge connections with others and become more comfortable with ourselves, allowing us to find our pop culture soulmates and transform this campus from a school into your home.

    Sarah Devlin is a sophomore majoring in English and political science. This summer she saw “”Bratz”” of her own free will. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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