You are in a hurry, breezing through the store one day or skipping through web pages. Wait -- what was that? You catch a glimpse of something out of the edge of your sight and a siren lets loose in your head. Is that really what you think it is? You slow, retrace your steps and peer closer. Rub your eyes. Pinch yourself. Nope, you aren't dreaming. There, glimmering, mounted on a pedestal before your eyes is the perfect addition to your collection.
Many people have a collection of some sort, whether they realize it or not. What we collect gives a glimpse into our personalities, our interests, our idiosyncrasies.
"I think collecting can be way fun," said Janika Wright, a junior at Clearfield High School. "Even if some things people collect are weird to me, I try to remember that we all have our own interests and collecting is just a way to express them."
So what kinds of things do teens collect? And why bother? From the practical to the bizarre, from the expensive to the cheap, here is what some Top of Utah teens cannot get enough of.
* Collection: Pokemon cards
Collector: Ashlee-Mae Carmichael, sophomore, NUAMES
Favorite item: Pikachu
Price tag: About $50 per month
Reactions: "I'm such a nerd and no one else collects them anymore. Yes, they say it's a big waste of time."
* Collection: Shot glasses
Collector: Adam Sorensen, senior, Bonneville High
Why he's a fan: "I think it's because my mom gave me my first one as a souvenir and I liked it, so I started collecting them."
Favorite item: "My Jack Skellington shot glass; it was a gift from my girlfriend from Disneyland."
Price tag: Zip -- they are usually gifts.
Reactions: "Others think it's cool."
* Collection: Pens and coins
Collector: Abby Chambers, senior, Box Elder High
Favorite item: Rubik's Cube pen
Price tag: "Maybe $2 a month."
Reactions: "They laugh at me, but it's more of an 'Ahh ... you're crazy' laugh."
* Collection: Stuffed animals
Collector: Kenna Deamer, sophomore, NUAMES
Favorite item: "A blue and yellow stuffed bear in a bunny suit; I've had it since I was 4."
Price tag: About $20 per month
Reactions: "They think it's really childish. Sometimes I get made fun of, but not often."
l Collection: Rock Band accessories
Collector: Logan Beck, junior, Clearfield High
Favorite Item: The cymbal package and the hi-hat pedal
Price tag: Average of $20 per month
Reactions: "People like my collection because it is fun, and I've never been mocked. But yes, some people think it's a waste of time."
* Collection: Movie/concert/game stubs
Collector: Mackenzie Stokes, ninth grade, T. H. Bell Junior High
Favorite item: Warped Tour ticket for Aug. 8, 2010, to see All Time Low, Cobra Starship and Bayside
Price tag: The price of the ticket, which she doesn't buy frequently
Reactions: "My other friends collect them as well ... others don't really think much of it."
* Collection: Spider-Man memorabilia
Collector: Janika Wright, junior, Clearfield High
Why she's a fan: "Spider-Man is my favorite superhero. I have a bit of an obsession with him."
Favorite item: Spider-Man towel that reads, "I only kiss Spider-Man."
Price tag: Mostly gifts; $5 a month
Reactions: "Some people think it's cool, but others say I'm too into it. I do get made fun of at times, but it's always just teasing."
* Collection: Memories, songs, books, ticket stubs, sheet music and birthday/thank you cards
Collector: Connor Hansen, graduate, Fremont High
Favorite items: The book "Magician," and Bach music
Price tag: It depends, he says. Around $50 for a good book series and $30 for a book of sheet music.
Reactions: "They like my collection! No, I've never been mocked."
So, why would teens collect something?
"I think collections are fun and ... they're a good way to keep memories," Stokes says.
Other Northern Utah teens agree collecting can be a good hobby because it gives you something to look forward to and it's a way to express yourself.
On the flip side, collections can be an easy way to sap time and money if you are not careful. Some teens agree that collections are fine, as long as you don't become obsessed.
"Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, so you need to be wary!" says Hansen.
Alexandra Burton is a senior at Ogden High School. You will find her running, reading, writing or playing the violin. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.