Fad-ulous: Reviving childhood crazes for a modern hobby

Allow me to sound like your mother and her best friends during a cocktail party: College is hard. You are constantly hard-pressed to answer significant questions such as “Who am I?”, “Who are my people?” and “What do I want to do with my life?” before you even reach your second decade of life.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

You may end up making progress toward the solutions to these critical questions, but it’s not impossible for something totally unrelated to rear its ugly head at the most inconvenient of times — exactly when you find your footing. 

Need help figuring out when this may be? Tell me if this experience sounds familiar to you: You are so excited to start your new curriculum for your major until you find yourself corroding away in study spaces with Homer’s “The Iliad” to your left and an astrophysics textbook to your right. 

You sit at your desk, face buried in your hands and ask your former summer self why you thought it was a good idea to forget about how terrible it feels to be swamped with 50-page general education readings.

Here’s what we’ve covered so far: Hard-pressing questions and minor inconveniences. Nothing you haven’t heard before, right? 

Here’s something you’ve probably never heard: Thank God for three-hour, once-a-week classes. Taking one of them on Monday and another on Tuesday may free up all of your Wednesdays and Fridays. As carefree as it may sound, it poses a rare question for a busy undergraduate: “What do I do with all of this free time?” 

Quite frankly, this question launched me into an existential crisis. I was so used to trying to trudge my way through a never-ending homework and extracurricular pile during my first three semesters of college that I never stopped to develop any new hobbies since “leaving the nest.” 

So, I made it my mission to find one this semester.

Watch every episode of “Grey’s Anatomy?”? The world might end before I finish that. Pick up crocheting? I got a B in art class during middle school and it’s only gone downhill from there. Take the train downtown every weekend like I used to and explore new cafés? Well, the T is broken, and don’t even get me started on Uber prices.

I took it upon myself to search high and low around every corner of the city, aiming to find something that piqued my interest. I pondered everything from shopping at thrift stores for a more metro-centric style to perusing self-care journals at the local Barnes and Noble just to find one harsh realization — nothing stuck. 

I wanted to be vain and convince myself that I’m too good for the current trends, but I think I was just too stubborn to admit to myself that I just might not be the best fit for what everyone else is doing — and you know what? Who ever said that was something to avoid? Own your individualism, people!

The search for my new hobby came to an end when I re-encountered Finch, one student I met while working as an orientation leader over the winter. After bumping into them, I had the “a-ha moment” that solved all of my problems. 

Finch made friends with everyone in their orientation group, had an exceptional talent for friendly banter and carried a wholesome fondness for pigeons — no, seriously, they picked one up off the side of the street to keep the little bird warm for a few minutes.

However, the aspect I admired most about Finch was their unapologetic demeanor and style. I admired their alluring collection of colorful rubber-band bracelets, and noticed that they looked oddly similar.

Just like that, I was teleported back to my childhood, much like one of those scenes in “That’s So Raven” when they zoom in on Raven’s eye and travel through time. 

What did I see? Myself, on my childhood twin-sized bed, making red, pink and white Rainbow Loom bracelets to deliver to every member of my fourth grade class for Valentine’s Day.

“I haven’t seen those since 2014, what are you doing with them in 2024?” one of the other students in my orientation group asked Finch. Finch responded with one word: “Yes.” But Finch’s determined body language and tone led me to believe that the answer he really gave was “Of course they are, and what about it? I know you think they’re fabulous.”

Oh, and the bracelet? A hexafish. As any Rainbow Loom fanatic like myself would know, that is one of the literal hardest and most time-consuming bracelets to make. 

Finch, if you’re reading this, thank you for being the bridge between my childhood and my newfound hobby. DM me color requests any time and I will gladly make you a hexafish bracelet. It just might take me two to three business days, considering I’m still a little rusty on my looming skills. 

If you ever see me on campus from now on, take a look at my wrists. I guarantee that I’ll be wearing one of my newly-created, rubber band masterpieces.

What else is there to say? Stop using the word “toy.” Do what you love, and if you need help finding what that is, look no further than the things you’ve loved to in the past. Pave your own way, and if that way is with a childhood fad like gimp, friendship bracelets or action figures, then that makes it all the better.

Miley Cyrus once said: “I know I used to be crazy / I know I used to be fun / you say I used to be wild / I say I used to be young.” Miley, I love you, and congratulations on the Grammy award, but who ever said young had to be regarded as “used to?”

If there’s anything you take away from this story, make it this: Youth is internal, not external. I cannot stress how important it is that we all internalize that ideology regardless of our age, 

To anyone out there over the age of 18 who is legally not a child anymore, but still embraces hobbies from their childhood, I sincerely applaud you. Keep sporting that youthful spirit around your community — someone across the way might be taking notice of how it helps you preserve that almost-childlike joy and feel inspired to take a journey back into their own nostalgia.

You have the utmost power to turn your childhood fads and memories that were once relics into an endearing reality. Take it from me, you will thank yourself. Plus, it’s probably more fulfilling than the “trends”everyone else is doing. 

Play with “toys” unapologetically. Once you do, send me a comment or message. I’ll be more than happy to congratulate you with a bracelet made with love. 

Oh, and about that B in art class? Look at me now, Mr. Pantos! I hope you’re proud of me. 

Stay young, my friends.

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  1. You rock Andrew!!

    P.S. I’m famous now 🙂

  2. Awesome article, Andrew!
    I actually got a “Spirograph” set for Christmas and have so much fun using it!! It brings back such great memories!