Sticking to a Story: Laptop Stickers Foster Self-Expression On Campus

Each sticker is personal to the computer user. Students often have explanations for what they choose to reveal through the ornaments decorating their laptops.

Glancing around classrooms, Damen’s common area or even a grassy quad, open laptops can be seen with a population of stickers adorning them. Computers have become a college essential and choosing to decorate them with stickers has become the status quo at Loyola. 

Each sticker is personal to the computer user. Students often have explanations for what they choose to reveal through the ornaments decorating their laptops.

Senior psychology major Zoey Zanowski cherishes her cow head sticker because it reminds her of her hometown in Wisconsin. She plans on getting a tattoo to match her sticker to always remind her of home. 

With a minor in women and gender studies, Zanowski says her studies inspired her “female body is beautiful” and “intersectional feminism is the only feminism” stickers on the top right and and left of her laptop. She’s in the Women In Leadership club at Loyola and is passionate about feminism and women’s rights.

Zanowski’s most original sticker is the monochromatic sketch of a eyeless woman driving a car. The sticker’s mysterious significance makes it stand out on the senior’s laptop.

“My older siblings’ friend actually made the drawing and I bought it at our high school art fair,” Zanowski said.“I just think art is a great expression of personality.”

Senior Libby Prosch, is proud of her “Growing Our Collective Power” sticker which depicts animated fruits with faces. The sticker was given to Prosch for her donation and participation in March For Our Lives, an activist group that attempts to bring awareness to gun violence. 

Prosch said she had outgrown some of her stickers. She points out her “Vote Igor” sticker.

“I was really into Tyler, the Creator freshman year,” the political science and Spanish double major said. 

Similarly, sophomore C.J. Leet said not all of her stickers were representative of her anymore. She points out a sticker depicting a “Superbad” scene with Evan (Michael Cera) saying, “Here’s to respecting women.”

“I’ve had the same laptop since I was 14,” Leet said, “Superbad is my indulgent movie now but I still agree with Michael Cera.”

The Medieval Torture Museum sticker commemorates Leet’s first visit to North State Street attraction. The museum features reenactments of the most cruel torture styles with mannequins, as well as chances to “experience” being tortured and torturing.

“I loved it so much, I went back again,” Leet said. “It’s really cool if you like messed up stuff.”

Junior biology major Neil Lagatao finds his stickers remain accurate to his current interests. The quote, “and the universe said i love you because you are love” overlaps ghost stickers on the right side of the laptop. 

“It’s from Minecraft, when you finish the game,” Lagatao said. “I thought it was pretty cool for a block game for kids.”

The Minecraft flowers beneath it give a subtle hint about the quote’s origins. 

A blue-tinted drawing of the character Yatora Yaguchi from Lagatao’s favorite manga “Blue Period” sits on the front of his laptop. The manga focuses on a character who is lost in life until finding his passion for art.

“I just find it really motivating,” Lagatao said. “It helps me get through school and my own life.” 

Benjamin Payne has a more effortless approach to choosing his stickers. The sophomore transferred to Loyola from Denison University, which explains his contradicting university sticker. He finds the best way to arrange and choose stickers is to “not think too much about it,” which he said has worked for him for the two years he’s owned his laptop.

His stickers also represent all the states he’s lived in. The “Give ‘em a BRAKE” sticker is a memento from his move from Washington to Minnesota, while his “Clutch Brewing Company” documents his time in Minnesota. 

Natalie Braga, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice and global studies, says her computer stickers tell a true tale of her past three years. Braga’s laptop features her political interests like her “my body my choice” sticker which she put on following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Braga said her Twilight, Glee and One Direction stickers still represent her today despite having them for a while. Towards the bottom of her laptop, sits a red and white drawing of two ladies whispering.

“My mom always had those vintage satire magnets and she got me the ‘all the cool kids are Directioners’ sticker,” Braga said. These magnets typically feature a picture of a 50’s housewife with a funny quote, and Braga’s sticker is a spinoff of those she said.

Her most important sticker is her blue heart, which is the logo of the Sawyer Woods Scholarship Foundation created for her friend that passed away. 

“She was on the same gymnastics team that I was, and having this sticker continues to remind me of her,” Braga said. 

The foundation collects donations in order to assist families with costs for gymnastics classes. By filling out an application and being accepted, a scholarship will be awarded to cover the expenses of any gymnastics program, for any age. They also have merchandise that goes towards the fund such as t-shirts and the sticker that Braga proudly displays on her laptop.

Featured graphic drawn by Hanna Houser | The Phoenix.

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