My sisters’ old yearbooks serve as my own personal troves of information, archiving the past generations of Wilton High School students. I notice the immense contrasts between their grades and my own; in the eight years since my oldest sister graduated, lax bro flow has disappeared, Abercrombie has become an impossible find in the senior hall, and the bright pink Razr cell phones have, unfortunately, been rendered obsolete. That being said, the (supposedly) candid snaps of kids bustling through hallways, drowning under stacks of papers and textbooks, remain the same. These days, however, my peers have got one more thing to lug around: their devices.
As our school transitions into its Bring Your Own Device program, laptops seem to be everywhere you turn.
Though I have toted my computer to and from school since freshman year, it’s exterior no longer matches the sleek and silver look that made it another indistinguishable MacBook Pro. Laptops have evolved into an accessory, with each kid’s case sporting stickers that uniquely provide a clear road map to their interests. It sometimes seems like a trivial part of our high school experience, and it must be noted that the kids in Wilton are beyond fortunate to be able to have these laptops and to spend their time scouring RedBubble for good deals on stickers.
The whole concept of people customizing their devices has created a new wave of self-expression. My case is a hodge podge of my favorite things; it marks my love for The Office, notes my obsession with Kanye West, and displays my go-to shoes, the infamous Birkenstocks. Now, quotes from The Office spill out of my friends’ and my mouths at the lunch table daily, Yeezy songs boom from my car as I pull up to the senior lot each morning, and my Birkenstocks are falling apart because I insist on wearing them all the time, even when the charming New England snow storms make their way back into our lives. My point is, these stickers do not give a person an inside, in-depth look into my psyche. Instead, a stranger can give my case a once-over and get a pretty accurate read on who I am and what I like. The temporary nature of stickers allows me to show who I am, right now, and then recreate my vision board when I am feeling antsy. Because of this mentality, beloved English teacher Mr. Mendelson urged me to wait a while before getting any tattoos.
My eyes often wander in class from the SmartBoard as I zone in on the stunning aesthetic of a classmate’s laptop. Each sticker is a statement, loudly proclaiming opinions or ideas to onlookers. Each one of my friend’s devices is completely unique, outlining their character and showing off their undeniable humor. The cases serve as conversation starters, bonding complete strangers over a favorite vacation spot or connecting two people over a favorite brand. Sometimes, they merely look nice! In this crazy time of self-discovery, these works of art are a source of pride for us.
I have been growing weary of the faded look my stickers now possess and growing sick of certain displays that represent me from another time. Ready to reinvent this aspect of my public image, I am starting to gather up the stickers I collected from my trips abroad this summer and embrace the changes that come with senior year. Hopefully, one day, the coveted corner spot will excitedly proclaim the college I will be attending next fall; in the meantime, that prime position is reserved for an equally important and meaningful sticker: a cartoon dog in a NASA uniform.




Lydia Hoffman is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.