Editor’s Note: Quotes were edited for clarity and brevity.
Photos by Kaelin Mendez
Stickers are bought online, ripped off fruit and found in toy machines. Although simple in nature, stickers have the power to reveal something about the person displaying them.
Students don their laptops with stickers collected through their travels and experiences. Laptops become an outlet for self-expression — a way to tell others who they are even when they are busy studying or working.
“There is always a story to the stickers,” Buddy Kennedy, junior theatre and media production major, said.
Katelynn Quick, senior rhetoric and leadership major:
“A lot [of my stickers] are from different coffee shops that I visited — mainly in Texas, actually — and then my favorite coffee shop at home is Black Dog (1). I’m from Kansas City, so [there is] a lot of representation of Kansas City. One of my favorite stickers (2) is a heart shape, and it has LA, KC and New York. So, Kansas City is my home — kind of the central one — and then LA I see as representative of Pepperdine. And then I interned last summer in New York, so it’s a good representation of all the different places that I’ve called home within the last four years. It’s just a lot of places that hold special memories to me, like northern Michigan (3), Yosemite (4), my internship, Pepperdine (5), Salt and Straw (6), Sidecar Donuts (7) — a lot of good places. There’s an avocado (8) on there. I mean, these are just places that are important, and then coffee and food.”
Buddy Kennedy, junior theatre and media production major:
“This one (1) I got when I visited Pepperdine before I even was enrolled, so that was a main decision of why I came here. This (2) I got from my best friend back home in high school. We saw ‘The Good Dinosaur’ together before we graduated high school, and he got the one of the other best friend and I got this one best friend. This one (3) I put on every single letter that I sent to [my girlfriend] while she was abroad. I sent her one for every week she was gone, and I stuck it with a ‘BAM!’ sticker. Then this one (4), I gave blood here one time, and I needed space to fill this with stickers. This one (5) I got because it’s just a great Vine, and Vine is dead, but Vine will never be dead. I’m still a piece of garbage; I relate to that a lot. Custom Ink (6) — great T-shirt company, and it’s a cute little squid. ‘One Tuff Cookie’ (7) — I got this at a theater convention that I went to once, and I love cookies. Rapunzel (8) because ‘Tangled’ is the greatest movie of all time. And Spikeball (9) because I’ve been doing that a lot lately. The Board (10) because I go to Pepperdine. And ‘Chivalry is Not Dead’ (11) because I try to be a gentleman.”
Maddy Espinoza, freshman biology major:
“Essentially, I just take [stickers] that interest me, and I especially like getting ones with darker humor … so things that are currently relevant. I have one (1) that says ‘Coping with Stress’ and has a woman pouring coffee all over herself. Or the one (not pictured) that says ‘Sell Your Soul: Economics for Children.’ At the time I was taking an econ class that I hated. I like having a lot of ones that are maybe slightly offensive. I like having ones that are interesting to me or political or things like that. I really enjoy switching them out. I don’t like having the same sticker on for too long because I think it’s boring, so this semester is a whole set of new stickers. Especially when they’re damaged, I’ll peel them off and get a new set that will fill the space. I always like the spaces on my things to be filled with something that’s creative or interesting to me.”
Jett O’Brien, junior economics major:
“I think my favorite would be this In-N-Out sticker (1) because, where I’m from, the In-N-Out was five minutes away from my house, and I grew up going to it pretty much every Sunday after church. And also Hansen’s (2) is a local surf brand, and I like to surf. This (3) is a taco shop in Mexico, I think, and my dad rode his dirt bike down to it. And this (4) is just a goggles stickers brand. It looks cool.”
Jiji Mielke, freshman international studies and French major:
“Before I moved to California, I really just wanted to sort of get in the mindset that I thought California had, which is relaxed, ambitious and just adventurous, so a lot of my stickers represent travel. I’ve got a map sticker (1) that represents the world and how I like to travel. I’ve got a palm tree (2) which represents, in my mind, peace and the beach. I’ve got a Volkswagen van (3) which also represents travel and the car that I thought I’d see around California, which I do see. It’s those people who just like to drive around the coast — I really admire that. And then I have a sticker (4) that says ‘EXPLORE,’ which is kind of what I want to do. This is all a very stereotypical sticker but it makes me feel like I’m in a good place when I’m studying and I look at. It reminds me that I’m in California, that I’m in a good place. My favorite’s probably the one of the world (1) just because it shows that even though the world is a really big place, this map shows that it’s not actually that far apart in retrospect.
When you [look] in travel magazines, Fiji (5) is always that one destination that’s so far away and not exotic in a weird way but exotic in just like it’s far away and not many people get to go there. It’s like the definition of a paradise with the pink hibiscus flower and the beautiful blue water.”
Marco Leong, senior music major with an emphasis in education:
“Well, these [stickers] are kind of just a culmination of my experiences around California and pretty much the West Coast. My favorite one is probably either this one (1). It’s Dainese; it’s an Italian motorcycle company that my dad and I both wear their garments, so that’s one of my favorites. And then this one’s Yoshimura (2). That’s another motorcycle company, so it’s kind of a big part of my life. So that’s what I like. And then all these I just got from my time around [the West Coast] … Just what I pick up, and what I think looks good on here.”
Caroline Tan, freshman business administration major and art minor:
“[The stickers] all kind of mean different things. They’re all different passions of mine. I really like traveling (1). I’m from California (2). This (3) is a sticker of Indonesia because I spend a lot of my summers there and my family is from there. I have a sticker (4) that kind of describes my art passions. I have a piece that kind of resembles this (5) from when I did AP Art, and then the flowers (6) are more watercolor-esque, so they all just remind me of some of the pieces I’ve done, and it’s another creative outlet. When I was buying them, I just looked at pink, yellow, blue.”
Blake Farley, freshman philosophy major:
“[My collection] is just a compilation of a lot of experiences I’ve had, a lot of memories, I’d say. There are a lot of people and places I like to feature here just because I feel like they make up a lot of my personality, a lot of things I hold dear. I will be going to Lausanne (1). [I] have to feature the program. [I’m] not from Arizona (2) but it’s a place I’d love to visit, love to travel to. This one (3) in particular is pertaining to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, which is a people I really, really love. Have a few stickers from home with the Ozark Mountains (4), and then a particular coffee shop (5) where [I’m from] that just kind of make up home for me. And then ‘All Together’ (6) — it was an effort to donate more money to the Fire Department after the fires here at Pepperdine. So definitely it’s an experience I won’t forget, and I kind of put the sticker there really to say that it’s dear to me. It means something to me … so it’s more of a personality statement. I feel like any sticker I put on here really just helps describe me.”
Michelle Chang, freshman psychology major:
“A lot of [the stickers] have to do with my interests. Because I’m Korean, I have a mix between Korean and American stickers. If you look at these (1), these are like obviously Korean stickers, and they’re drinks and snacks that I personally really like. And these (2) are actually made for this Pepperdine organization called KCM, which is like Koinonia Campus Ministry. And then I have Korean artists (3) that I like. And then my other ones like RIPNDIP (4), Stüssy (5), Carhartt (6), these are American brands that I personally really like. When I like a particular company or a brand so much, I end up liking everything they produce, so if I get a sweater from them, it’s like, ‘I want a sticker, too.’ It’s fun decorating a laptop, so I just decided to do that. Honestly, I really like this one (7). It’s KAWS, and he’s an artist and he does a lot of collaborations with this clothing company called UNIQLO. I just think it’s really cute because it’s the signature ‘x’ and then it’s covering its eyes. I just think it’s like really, really cute. I mean honestly sometimes I do get a little self conscious about them because I think laptop stickers — they’re a form of expression — but they can be kind of bold sometimes, I guess. … My roommate has them, too, but when you compare laptops, hers is very different from mine. She has a lot of flowers and pink and a lot of — I don’t want to say feminine [stickers] but kind of — but that’s just who she is. On the surface level, it’s like they’re just stickers on a laptop, but they represent our personalities and characters.”
Follow Kaelin Mendez on Twitter: @MendezKaelin