The Campus Celebrity

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For some reason, seeing certain strangers is a noteworthy event. They’d never know it, but being seen constitutes a text to the group chat. For example: “I just saw the girl with the cool platform boots pass by the Willard building.” Pandemonium ensues. The day is made.

It may seem odd to place a stranger on a pedestal, but sometimes we can’t help but to make a celebrity out of a person we don’t even know. It can feel bewildering to see the same person over and over again that you seemingly have no connection to. The simple explanation is that when we follow a schedule or routine, we are more likely to see the same people going about their daily lives. Occasionally, a stranger pops up repeatedly with no rhyme or reason, and spotting them is an even bigger event.

Still, the charm of finding joy in the presence of someone you don’t know is something that seems small, but has a greater impact on our curiosity and perspective than most would know.

Why not say hello?

As a society, we don’t typically interact with strangers and avoid contact with them unless we deem it absolutely necessary. Everyone knows the experience of shifting your vision from side to side and down towards your phone in order to not make unnecessary prolonged eye contact. To see someone in passing (say walking past them on the sidewalk) is also different from being in the same space as them for an extended period of time. By making eye contact, we acknowledge that we see each other. 

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There’s a balance that we strike up in our daily life, where interactions with strangers are more accepted. We exchange information at coffee shops, grocery stores and gyms by making small talk. Talking to people we don’t know can also be straight up intimidating. You’ll also never know unless you introduce yourself what sort of connection could be made. 

Is a Campus Celebrity an actual celebrity?

A Campus Celebrity doesn’t need to have any sort of clout, in fact, they can actually border on having the opposite. This is not to be confused with someone on campus who has a sizable internet following or other marker of being known. The prominence that they have is tied to being a celebrity in your life. 

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Who are these people to us?

A Campus Celebrity can be someone you have little to no interaction with. You can be drawn to them for a variety of reasons, and the feelings can range from platonic excitement and interest to someone that makes your heart race. It is also possible to have more than one Campus Celebrity in your life. 

Photo from @kethi.a on Instagram

On a base level, seeing your Campus Celebrity brings you joy. It’s also wholesome that people we don’t typically interact with have the potential to be a positive figure in our lives. 

Are you a Campus Celebrity?

You very well could be! If you’re the type of person that does not wish to be perceived, take some deep breaths. The more time you spend at Penn State, the truer the notion is that campus feels smaller. We are all fixtures in other people’s lives, ranging in impact from a familiar face to small talk or hello’s. Ask your friends if they have a Campus Celebrity! 

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Do you have a Campus Celebrity? How does seeing them make you feel? Tweet us and let us know @VALLEYmag 


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