Student Obsessions

By Brittany Bishop, Justin Quinn, Gabe Feldstein, Leigh Alon and Liza Barnes
Published: June 2010

In a sea of students, a world of obsessions swirl through the minds of those walking down the halls. Everyone thinks of something different, from a specific boy to their favorite pasttime. Here, we’ll dive into the minds of a few students and their favorite obsessions.

Boy Bands? Can’t Get Enough
By Brittany Bishop

For me, two bands are everything. Despite the embarrassment, I can’t help but immerse myself into these groups, these seven boys, along with their bodyguards, their families, their managers, and their street team leaders, lives. I am obsessed with two bands: The Jonas Brothers and Honor Society; I know everything about them. In the last 365 days, I have gone to a Jonas Brothers concert, two Nick Jonas and the Administration concerts (two nights in a row, along with meeting Nick), five Honor Society concerts, and three rounds of promotion for the bands.

Now, I’m sure most people will turn the page upon the mere mention of these bands, but that’s because they do not understand how they make me feel.

With every concert, every picture, every live chat, and every song, a new piece of appreciation forms. It’s not just their appearance that attracts people, mostly teenage girls, to these boys, but their morals and their actions (even if they do come off slightly forced every once and a while).

Still, it’s truly difficult not to crack a smile when Joe calls a girl during a live chat and pretends to be her principal, or when Andy Lee makes jokes about Mike’s body rolls for a good ten minutes straight. It’s also hard not to feel proud to be a fan when both bands continuously raise money for important funds like diabetes, the Salvation Army, or the Special Olympics.

They use their fame for good and in the best way possible.

Most bands also do not give to the fans like these two do. Most bands don’t have meet and greets, or make funny videos, or have live chats, or go to a friend’s house to make up for leaving early from a house party two years prior. Most bands aren’t so kind.

With every song comes a new depiction into the lives of these seven boys. They speak directly from experience and, being young, allow the fans to grow up with them.

Yes, that sounds a little cheesy, but with every interview and every song, you can learn something new about them.

I also happen to be lucky, already having the chance to meet Honor Society countless times, spending time with them exclusively because of one of my friends. Having met them first hand and being able to joke with them in person changes my outlook on them. Being familiar with them makes me proud to say that they are truly who they make themselves to be: honest, funny, amazing gentleman.

Finally, half of the fun of the bands is the friends you make. Going to concerts, or even talking online, allows fans to make an endless amount of friends, all of who connect and understand each other just because of one or two common interests.

The Jonas Brothers and Honor Society are binding factors for teenage girls, and maybe the rare guy fan.

Madonna: The One and Only
By Justin Quinn

Madonna. It is more than a name. It is an attitude, a way of life. And I have been living it since I was eight years old. It all started at summer camp in music class when we played freeze dance.

The counselor put on Madonna’s then new “Music album, and it all went downhill from there. That year for my birthday, I asked my parents to buy me the album, which I overplayed on my portable CD player for the following months.

While still young, I bought “American Life when it was released a few years later, but my major Madonna-awakening was in 2005, when I discovered the masterpiece that is “Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Fast forward to July 2006, the best day of my life, the first time I saw Madonna live. The Confessions Tour was magical.

From the time I bought my ticket to the night of the show, Madonna was all I talked about (ask anyone who knew me in seventh grade).

I still remember the rush I felt as the giant disco ball descended from the ceiling of the Banknorth Garden, and the video projections of horses were so loud, the floor shook. When the disco ball opened and Madonna emerged, I was lost in a Madonna-induced bliss. I saw Madonna again in 2008 during her Sticky and Sweet Tour, another amazing, unforgettable experience.

I still get goose bumps thinking about the image of the whole arena jumping to “Like a Prayer.

I spent a long time immersing myself in Madonna’s back catalogue to find a world of music spanning from the 1980s to right now. I have since bought all her albums (in multiple editions) and seen all her tour DVDs and movies she has acted in (and I attest that Madonna is in fact a good actress). Currently, I have 492 Madonna songs on my iPod, including studio albums, concerts, remixes, and unreleased tracks.

The thing I discovered about Madonna is that she is more than just the music.

I fell in love with her music, but I have grown to respect and admire the person behind it as well.

Madonna tells us never to go for second best, become better than we are today, and save the world, which are all qualities that she demonstrates herself and inspires other to do. She is a self-determined woman, and I hold a great amount of respect for her.

She knows what she wants and this value is apparent in her music, motivating me as I get pumped for a big day, dig through the last mile of my run, or am in need of inspiration.

This may seem crazy but Madonna, her music, and her message is an integral part of my life.

She is inspirational to fans across the world and although universally accessible, her music is undeniably personal.

I feel lucky to be a fan and, to quote Madonna, “you can love me or leave me, but I’m never going to stop.

Lost in a World of TV
By Gabe Feldstein

It’s 9:00 pm. The screen is black. Boom! All of a sudden, an eye is staring at you.

Whose eye is this? It’s Jack Shepard’s eye. He is covered in blood, his own blood.

He is in a jungle. A woman is screaming. Who is this woman and why is she screaming?

It doesn’t matter because you are experiencing the first few moments of one of the greatest network television shows ever.

You are experiencing the first few moments of Lost.

On September 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 departed from Sydney Australia, headed for Los Angeles.

Oceanic 815 never got there. The plane crashed landed on an island in the middle of the ocean, where a bunch of confused strangers would have to make do with this new fate that some higher power had granted them.

Now, this is not a story with a happy ending. This isn’t Gilligan’s Island, this isn’t Survivor, and nobody is going to get a million bucks after a month.

This is reality. People live, people love, and people die.

Now, what is it about Lost that is so good? Personally, I can’t really describe it, but I can say that since I was admitted into college, I have watched an absurd amount of that show in all my new free time.

I probably watch so much of it for one of two reasons. The first potential reason is that it is genuinely one of the best shows of all time, and to not watch it would be missing out on a part of television history.

The second potential reason is that I am an idiot, susceptible to the juvenile ploys and hooks the show uses to pull me in every time I watch.

Honestly, it is probably the latter. Lost pulls out all the stops: eerie music, seeing dead people, a fat guy; you really can’t help but buy in to such a catchy show.

Everything about the show is done knowing exactly what effect it will have on the viewer, except in the most recent season, which is simply putrid television.

When there is a close-up on John Locke’s face as he stares at what either may be a ghost, monster, or strange combination of both, and then the show suddenly cuts to commercial, the people who make the show know that the viewer is going to be sitting through that commercial break heart pounding with bated breath.

At times, Lost is more than a TV show, it is a way of life. For seniors, getting home after a long day of sleeping through classes and barely paying attention, nothing is better than coming home to an episode of Lost. It’s refreshing; Lost is a source of drama and mystery in the monotony of everyday second semester life.

Wizarding Wonder
By Lily Fein

The premiere of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was a week earlier, and even though I had gone to the midnight showing in full costume, I still wasn’t satisfied. To fulfill my Harry Potter needs, I saw it for a second time, again in full costume.

It’s moments like this that define my obsession with Harry Potter. Since 1997 when the first book was published, Harry Potter has been a major part of my life. At first, I just listened to the audio books in the car with my family on long drives, but soon I would immerse myself even further into Harry Potter’s world.

From Hogwarts to Hogsmeade, Dumbledore to the Dursleys, every essence of the Harry Potter series intrigues me. Rowling’s quirky writing style and complex story line sucks me into a magical world. I can’t count how many times I’ve read the series and every time, it gets better and better.

Maybe I love the stories so much because no matter what is going on in reality, Harry Potter is always there. Maybe it’s because Harry kicks so much butt. Maybe it’s because when I was little, I was desperate to become a witch myself. For whatever reason, I have fallen hopelessly in love with the Harry Potter books.

Dumbledore is like my second dad. The countless morals he passed to Harry, I have also taken to heart. He has taught me that it is the choices I make that define me, to not fear death, and to give everyone a chance to redeem themselves. The lessons he has taught me prove that Harry Potter isn’t just another silly kid’s book.

However, the aspects that make it so youthful and fun for kids to read also entice me. Every book is full of laughs and comic relief that contrasts with the dark magic threatening Harry’s world. Whether it’s Dumbledore exclaiming, “Alas, earwax! or Molly Weasley screaming “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B****, I know that J. K. Rowling will mix humor perfectly with the increasing intensity of Harry’s world.

My friends think I’m crazy, and I can understand it. They love to laugh at the video on Facebook of me crying about the death of one of the characters. But in the end, it’s so worth it; I wouldn’t trade my obsession with Harry Potter for anything.

After all of these years, I know this isn’t just a phase. Ten years from now, I’m sure I’ll still be dreaming about throwing back butterbeers with Rubeus Hagrid.

No matter how many times I relive Harry’s seven years fighting Voldemort, I want to know more and more.

Even though all of the books have come out, I still embrace every Harry Potter related opportunity I get.

Like just this year, I went to a Harry Potter concert with musicians in the Wizard Rock genre. It was totally dorky, but the love for Harry Potter was immense. In the end, I don’t care how dorky it is.

I’ll love Harry Potter for the rest of my life, and I don’t care what anybody thinks about it.

The Power of Magic
By Leigh Alon

Imagine a world of creatures, sorceries, enchantments, artifacts, spells, and mythical beings. No, not Hogwarts, but rather Magic the Gathering, a card game which has kept some students around South occupied for endless hours.

While the intricacies of the rules are nearly impossible to understand without some experience, the basic idea is that one has a deck of 60 cards, 20-24 of which are mana, or resources. Resources are spent by casting spells upon an opponent until they lose the game. Cards vary greatly in rarity and value, with the most sought after card being the Black Lotus, with a limited print run, originating 15 years ago.

Although this may seem like merely another run-of-the-mill diversion, the competitiveness and environment in which Magic the Gathering is played in is quite unique and offers to its players much more than a temporary alleviation of boredom.

Players attend tournaments where they advance upon continuously winning matches against opponents they are pitted against.

After nine 50-minute rounds, only the top eight players remain, and they play in a final match. Even obtaining cards is an experience, as magic players attend drafts, called Friday Night Magic, in which each player opens a pack of cards, picks one, and passes it on in a circle until all the cards are taken.

There are indeed many around the world who have found this game intriguing, and therefore, some major tournaments have attracted hundreds and even thousands.

Senior Jason Gens attended one such event when he went to a tournament hosted at the Hynes Convention Center, where over 1500 magic enthusiasts from around the world attended, including many professional magic players who have gained much notoriety in the magic community.

Gens also placed 16th out of 259 people when he attended magic nationals. It’s these big tournaments and the interaction with other players that make magic so fulfilling for him.

“Magic is so much fun for me because I get to travel around the country and meet new people. Because Magic is also a strategy game, I work with other people to improve my play and decision making, Gens said.

Junior Jacob Tepper also enjoys being part of the unique combination of people that magic tournaments attract. “You’ll find mainly nerds, but there are kids who are ‘Ëœnormal’ like us. It’s interesting to see all the different types of people, and I would normally never interact with these people, but they play magic and I play so it’s something to converse about, he said.

As fun as it may be, Magic the Gathering does carry a social stigma that many of its most avid fans acknowledge.

“I never bring up that I play magic unless someone asks me. It’s not that I’m a closet magic player or anything like that. Most of my friends already know that I play magic and so it’s not a problem, but it’s just not something I would bring up in conversation, Gens said. 

Tepper is also affected by the stigma as people often pass judgments because of his involvement with magic. He, however, believes Magic the Gathering’s reputation is unjustified.

“Most people are surprised probably because it seems like only nerds play magic and I’m not a “nerd, but that’s not really true. It’s basically the same as playing video games but for some reason not nearly as accepted, he said.

As Magic fans continue to be lured by the game, many will undoubtedly attend an upcoming tournament in Hartford, Connecticut next week. Whether it’s the close knit community or the complicated strategies that keeps magic fans hooked, Tepper sums up the sentiment of many magic addicts with a simple statement: “it’s just a really fun game, that can be absurdly complex, which is probably why I love it.

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