Swimming with the current is much easier than swimming against the current. If people are not able to follow the trend, they will not belong to this time anymore. ?Most of the time each of us is a member of a group, sometimes a member of several groups, and at different times of different groups? (Katona 55). Moreover, their feeling, thinking, and acting will be profoundly influenced when they are in a powerful group. Because the people surrounding them are chasing the fluctuating trend, they are forced to improve their standards of life in order to fit in with this complicated society.
Community college students like shopping because this is a way to alleviate depression and follow the trend. Due to their need for self-gratification, they will buy whatever they want to satisfy their goal to become a person with an individual image. Furthermore, community college students like to be innovators, so they can communicate with others with similar interests. Not only can they communicate with their peers, but they can also develop self-confidence in the buying process.
Community college students create their lives to match a ?self-image? produced by the media. They believe they will become more popular with their peers if they own something that their peers desire to possess. For instance, while community college students are driving a luxury car, using a high-technology laptop, or paying for purchases with a high-limited credit card, they will have an opportunity to encounter friends or attract other people?s attention. It is the reason drawing all of the community college students down into the swirling whirlpool of making a self-image.
Today?s community college students are materialists. In philosophy, materialism means ?a widely held system of thought that explains the nature of the world as entirely dependent on matter, the final reality? (Materialism 1). Students will buy clothes and accessories based on frequent fashion changes and the power of the brand names. Students will look at an object by its value more than its actual purpose, and they may meet new friends by considering whether they are rich or not too.
There are community college students who have the ability to make their self-image, but they do not do the same things as those materialistic students do. In fact, they have no intention to make their image to attract others? attention at all. They can curb themselves in the crucial time of purchasing by thinking whether the object is worth. However, they would rather use their money in the other ways more than their image such as spending money on reference book, saving up for further use. ?No number of products, money, or abstract goods satisfies us. This is the fundamental mistake we make in substituting the economic for the familiar as the root of identity? (Keen 1). Students who are not materialistic do not luxuriate in the substance like using a high-limited credit card which can cause those materialistic students feel superior.
Buying new car is one of the ways to create community college students? self-image. Students will feel proud of themselves when they are driving a new nice car. For example, most of the cars in University of Southern California are new BMW and Mercedes Benz. Students, without driving a new luxury car, will feel uncomfortable when they are parking their cars in the parking lot in University of Southern California, and they have to park on the streets. Thus, students have created a deep image that only students who drive a new nice car can able to study in University of Southern California.
In the society, there are numerous people who intend to buy cars. From The Powerful Consumer, George Katona says that ?the fulfillment of intentions to buy cars within six months is analyzed, and also when the comparison is restricted to the fulfillment of definite intention to buy new cars? (82). Many people have the intention to buy new car to satisfy their wants. New cars can be an image for people to identify how wealthy they are.
I know someone who was accepted by University of Southern California who bought a new luxury car after his first week of the semester. He told me that he could not stand his old car anymore since everyone surrounding him driving a BMW or a Mercedes Benz. From this case, students were influenced by their friends around them, and they tried to follow the trend in the university and make a self-image for themselves. Moreover, students will create a different image for themselves based on different circumstances they have to face.
Students show their symbol of wealth, status, and power by using high-limited credit card. Students feel self-satisfied by showing it in front of others. In America, eighty-seven percent of all households had at least one credit card. In contrast, households who had a high-limited credit card are not as many as we thought. Therefore, using a high-limited credit card and showing it to others can serve to represent that students have their own power, status and wealth.
American Express card is a high-limited card that not everyone can own. ?The American Express card is, in practical terms, different from other ?plastic.? The cardholder must pay off their charges in total each month, instead of paying interest on the balance? (Solomon 2). Also, it can symbolize the honor of the consumer. In the meantime, American Express is having a special offer which is free for the college student to sign up. So, there will be tremendous number of students applying for the card, and they can show their identity to others by using American Express card in the future.
For me, a community college student who has an American Express card can always feel superior to others. When I was eighteen years old, my dad said “my dear daughter, now you are already eighteen years old, and I know you have the ability to handle everything by yourself. So, I am going to get you an additional American Express card.” I cannot tell how my dad delighted me when I heard he said that. It really made me feel I was better than anyone else was when I pulled my card out.
Computers have been prevailing in this flourishing society for numerous years; hence, by having a high-technology computer, students can show their unique image. Computers are upgrading every single day, and students are seeking the computers with fastest speeds, largest capacity, and smallest size. Doubtless, this is not necessary to have a computer with that level for a community college student simply because everyone talks about computer everyday, and everyone knows computers.
More students tend to own a laptop computer more than a desktop computer; indeed, ?Why choose a laptop computer around the house when a more powerful desktop model would cost hundreds less? In the word, convenience. A laptop is compact enough to use on the kitchen table, mobile enough to be moved away at mealtime?(Fox 13). Besides, students can go to school or wherever they want to go with their laptops, and they enjoy showing their laptops to their peers.
One of my friends, David, is a university student. We all know he is not a major in computers nor a professional in computer, but he is the only one who is always upgrading his computer. He is always talking about how powerful his computer is, how fast his computer can achieve, and what he just bought the last few days every time when we go out. In spite of the fact that he uses his computer just for chatting with his peers on the Internet and working with some simple schoolwork, we all found that he wants to impress us with his computer in order to enhance his self-image in our group.
Community college students will madly make a duplicate in a new image mold created by media, just as the new image becomes commonplace. Driving a brand new luxury car, purchasing with American Express credit card, and having a top model laptop computer are the cases of making an image. Also, there an innumerable number of other cases that follows as well. Perhaps, community college students may think making a self-image is a part of their life.
Fox, Jeffrey. ?Laptops faster and better than ever.? Consumer Reports May 1999: 13
Keen, Sam. Psychopathy and Consumerism. 6 Jan. 1999. 26 April 1999
?Materialism.? The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia.
3rd ed. 4 Jan 1998. 29 April. 1999.