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March 20, 2023

Elsa Lagercrantz

A psychedelic mushroom and a skeleton drinking coffee. This sounds like what you meet on Thayer Street at midnight. But, it is actually a sample of the stickers I’ve put on the back of my computer. As we all know, humans love to express their personalities through clothes and accessories, and in the 21st century, one of the newest ways to do this is by decorating one’s laptop. The back of your computer works as a mood board where you can display stickers with distinguished messages varying from political to purely aesthetically pleasing motives. On top of that, it works as an open diary, showing the bypasser a glimpse of your personality. Looking down at my own laptop, however, I think about what it really symbolizes. I chose these stickers because they regularly make me smile. Nonetheless, if the decor is supposed to be a representation of yourself to the observer walking by, I realize mine are pretty contradictory. The pajama-wearing skull sipping on a cup of coffee - How I feel in my 9 am classes - is quite a good glimpse of who I am. However, the colorful mushroom sticker, surrounded by the text “Stay Trippy - Lil Hippy”, is quite the opposite of who I am, since I don’t even smoke - I know, boring right? How good of an open diary am I presenting? I use my laptop for school, but it also accompanies me as an accessory when I’m carrying it on its own. It serves as a way of experimenting with fashion and color, displaying a piece of a person’s aesthetic. Is your computer completely blank, in a minimalistic way like the design of Kim Kardashian’s house, or have you decorated it to mimic the bathroom mirror of a punk band club in the 90s? Either way, the owner has probably carefully thought through which symbols to express or not express their personality by. So what do people think about when choosing what stickers to put, and how do they express the owner’s personality? Curious about this, I found some hard-working students that kindly let me chat with them about their decorated and not-so-decorated laptops.

Name: Aidan Leblanc

Class: 2025

Major: Computer science and Economics

Q: Tell me about your stickers. Do any of them have a specific meaning?

“So I got these stickers in Highschool and they have been with me since. Some are memes and I have them because I think they’re funny. Like “Respect the drip, Karen” makes people laugh and I don’t see why I wouldn’t have it on the back of my computer. Above it, is a sticker of the singer Jacob Collier. He’s a big inspiration to me and his music is an important part of my life. Besides these, a lot of my stickers have a political message. To me, it is a subtle but effective way to show people my opinions. Some of them aren’t that serious but having Karl Marx and a Spotify scan for FDT (Fuck Donald Trump) sometimes works as a way to start a conversation. I like the fact that even though it’s just a tiny and funny-looking sticker, its message can still be significant.”

Q: Have you ever reflected on your computer being a personalized accessory?

“Yes, a little bit. Since people sometimes come up to ask questions about what I’m displaying, I’m aware of the effect of showing my opinions openly. It sometimes evokes reactions in people. At the same time, I don’t see it as such a biggie. It’s just the back of my computer and I like having it full of strange things that might make people and myself laugh. Sometimes I forget that they are there and I realize it just as I’m entering a professional setting haha. From a wider perspective though, I feel that the back of your laptop works as a creative way to display funny things.”


Aidan Leblanc's lap top. 

Name: Malin Levén 

Class: 2026 

Major: Computer Science

Q: You do not have any stickers, how come?

“First of all, I don’t have any nice ones and I have no idea where to buy them. Also, I feel that I lack the aesthetic vibe needed to lay them out nicely. For some practical reasons, I don’t want stickers to make my computer dirty or sticky, as they would, when they get old and fall off. People’s stickers get gross over time and for me, daily working with CS on my computer, having a clean and simple look is just so comfortable.”

Q: Does your clean-aesthetic look show a truthful mood board of who you are?

“To be honest not at all, haha! My dorm room is often quite a mess and I’m a pretty scatterbrained person. On second thought though, maybe keeping my computer clean is my way to balance it all out. Being messy at home and clean doing work does give me a good contrast.”

Malin Levén's Laptop

Through the voices of my peers, I recognize that the laptop has become a new way to express yourself. It has been inspiring to listen to people telling their different stories about this personal accessory. Even if you have a cluster of stickers or nothing at all, both still tell the observer something about you and who you are. Are you displaying political propaganda or simply praising an artist? Or is your personal mood board more of a space for you to focus, thanks to its simplicity? All in all, there is a thought behind what you do and do not display. What message do you want to express? 

Lastly, I realize now, looking at my own laptop in a mirror, that I accidentally put all the stickers in a way that makes them face the observers completely upside down. Taking in my humiliating mistake with a laugh, I understand that this is sort of a truthful representation of who I am. Colorful stickers are scattered and upside down, and even though they might make me look somewhat like a fool, they give both the viewer and me a big smile, something that never hurt anybody.

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