A&E: Collections serve as a form of self expression

Collections are a way to express personal aesthetics and define identity. Capturing the unique interests of collectors, an accumulation of curated finds from stuffed toys to playing cards are a comforting hobby for students and staff at SCHS.

Senior Leyna Huynh’s obsession with the soft, huggable toys grew quickly after receiving a small Nemo Squishmallow as a birthday gift from a coworker.

“Whenever I see them in stores, I get very excited,” Huynh said. “Usually, I’m stuck in that aisle for a good 30 minutes, picking which one I want to get and bring home with me.”

With the growing trend of Squishmallows, Huynh contributed its popularity to the influence of social media.

“I would say it’s popular because every so often, I’ll see TikToks of people having lots of Squishmallows,” Huynh said. “Social media definitely worked to make it a popular item for people to have a shared love for it.”

Sophomore Alejandra Vieyra Martinez discovered a newfound interest in tarot decks after receiving one as a birthday present. In the future, Vieyra Martinez is looking forward to expanding her collection.

“Tarot decks are cards where you do readings about things like love, the future or a decision that you aren’t so sure about,” Vieyra Martinez said. “The cards work to guide you and help you make a decision.”

Vieyra Martinez believes the rising popularity of tarot decks will allow individuals to gain intuitive meaning that connects to their spirits.

“Since the start of the pandemic, spirituality has been a hot topic on social media,” Vieyra Martinez said. “A lot of people are getting interested in hobbies and collections regarding spiritual connection and understanding varying energies.”

Math teacher Lauren Hasty has found solace in collecting crystals for the past 20 years.

“I like that it’s a way to focus when you might pick up the stone, think about the properties of it and how it could apply to you,” Hasty said. “When I need to pull myself together, thinking about it, feeling the weight of it and looking at it helps me make what I want to happen come true.”

Hasty purchases crystals at affordable crystal shops and flea markets, allowing him to maintain his avid collection.

“A lot of these stones, they’re kind of inexpensive and common in the world,” Hasty said. “To get them, it’s not like I have to spend $100. I think I could spend $10 or $20 and not feel like I’m throwing my money away.”

While Hasty believes crystals can transform energy connection, he describes how the digital world has impacted people’s ability to be grounded.

“People spend many hours a day focusing on their device, and meanwhile, the real world is around us. It’s happening, and we’re letting it pass us by.” Hasty said. “The process of holding a rock brings us back down to Earth, and I think that’s why it might be popular.”

Vieyra Martinez believes collections are a form of expression for people that adds more to their personal stories.

“I think that collections are important for people because they can give someone a bit of joy. Whether it be vintage items or a family tradition to collect currency from other countries, it adds a little more to everyone’s story,” Vieyra Martinez said. “It’s nice to be able to indulge in the small things that make us happy and share it with the world.”