5 Growing and Somewhat Unfortunate Trends That Defined the 2012-2013 Collegiate Year

Intense Self-Deprecation

The shitty thing about talking to people is that you’re either better than them or worse than them. And while it’s obviously never fun to be inferior to your friend who's somehow #makingmoves with that ridiculous EDM-themed cupcake idea, it’s also pretty annoying to be better than your peers. Given that they are your peers, the whole point of being peers with them is that you're both going through the same shit, or are on (basically) the same level in terms of career and life stuff. In other words, you both are supposed to equally not have your shit together.

So when you do have your shit together relative to others, it becomes more and more important to play up more trivial things…i.e, you always manage to stain your shirt, you still can't figure out how to unbutton a girl’s bra, etc. Really play up the fact that you are so incompetent in simple life endeavors, it’s very difficult to imagine that you just inked a 10K signing bonus for a prestigious finance job.

**Self-deprecation has always been huge, but with the exaggeration of personal brand motives on the internet and the need to distance oneself from some of the shittier types of people one the internet, self-deprecation has emerged as the dominant movement of being secretly superior to the rest of the world.  

TV Show Braggarting

There’s a million ways to look at this, but one of the funnier realities of the “I’m the right kind of person because I’ve developed an intimate connection with a project I had no part in creating” movement is the relationship between established fans and new viewers. Established fans love it when new fans hop on the train, because it a.) further validates their belief that this is a show worth watching, and b.) gives the established fan ample opportunities to widen their eyes and hype up a particular component of the show (thus, giving that person a temporary knowledge/superiority advantage.) 

Yea, the last few episodes of Game of Thrones season 1 may be unreal, but if you’re telling me they’re unreal then I’m not gonna be as shocked when the UN.REAL. shit occurs. Simply talking about a show is oftentimes a spoiler alert, and college kids have increasingly perfected this. 

Contradictory SWUGs

If you aren’t caught up on the senior washed up girl movement, I suggest you check this out. If you are caught up, +4 for knowing things.

(But -3 if you take this one piece of knowledge that you know, and relate back to it in every conversation in an attempt to sound smart.)

SWUGlife is of course easily mockable–it’s really just a fancy way of saying “I am a different person now than I was when I was a freshman”–but there are a few points of note. The ideology is pretty interesting given its relation to the prevailing college ideology…they, unlike the dominant narrative, do not believe that college the best four years of your life. Though at the same time, SWUGs ironically draw upon nearly every collegiate theme in order to create their own version of the exact same thing. For example, SWUGs don’t give a fuck–they experiment, they don’t give a fuck, they challenge norms of existing realities, they don’t give a fuck, and they try really hard not to give a fuck. Which is actually just college. 

Also: if you feel the need to identify with a group that has a specific ideology, you actually sorta give a fuck. 


Casual Ambition

“Not giving a fuck,” as previously noted, has been a big-time college/postgrad theme for years now. However, it often conflicts with another popular theme: The #grind.

The #grind, just like everything else we as a human race has somehow deemed “a thing,” is also very difficult not to make fun of. Though if you look at it using Econ exam termanology (ceteris paribus), you realize it’s really just a term that embraces hard work and motivational drive. I.e., if you are on your #grind, it means you are willing to put an abnormal amount of time and effort into achieving whatever it is you want to achieve. The #grind, at the end of the day, is really just an ambitious version of ambition.

But again, we can’t totally give a fuck. It’s unsightly to try. Trying is construed as overcompensating in a way, meaning that the best type of ambition is when it comes natural, and related to what that person is about in general. To be a TV braggart for a second, House of Cards’ Zoe Barnes is the best example of this sort of thing. Work and play are the same, she gets ahead by doing whatever the fuck she wants, but whatever the fuck she wants is to be ridiculously good at what she does. Her life is her work, but in an unspoken, non-toolish way. She’s also really hot. Which is important, because part of this whole equation is to (without trying) be extremely physically attractive. 

Anti-Technology Freedom Fighters

Once upon a time, the anti-technology freedom fighter arrived home from a long day of class/lunch/class/some lecture/a walk home in which he really “connected’ with himself. Thrilled about the epiphany he just artificially created, he desired nothing more than to share his discoveries with the entire apartment–how he's seen the error of his ways, how he’s now on the right track, and other self-absorbed statements that would be cool if my job wasn’t to primarily make fun of people who over-exaggerate (and thus, compromise) their own importance.

Except that when he arrived home, all the roomies were barely responsive–they of course, were huddled in the same room spending quality time together on their laptops.

“A screen! You can’t live on a screen!,” wailed the anti-technology vigilante. He was irate as an associate of JD Power, finally fed up about the fact that he hasn't received a better title despite working at the firm for decades.

“I must now go without technology for 60-90 days! Then, so people understand what great a life I am living, I will record every moment and then upload it to YouTube!”

A smile lined with malice. That shit will get so many views. 


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