It can probably be said of all college cultures that trends catch on fast and scatter rapidly throughout the population. Trends might include: Rockin’ Republics, messenger bags, Vans, frozen yogurt, and the like. BYU is just as subject to these trends as the rest, especially the grass roots type. Recent favorites in Cougar Town:
Flight of the Conchords
Skiing not Snowboarding
All of these trends deserve their popularity (some more than others) and have improved the quality of life of many students. However, BYU people love insisting that they were part of the trend first.
A prime demonstration of this can be found with any Apple user on campus. As you compliment an individual’s new environmentally friendly aluminum Macbook, they will assure you that they have always been a Mac user. They have never used a PC, and while they are pleased with Apple’s recent success, it is not why they purchased the new sexy laptop that classifies them as artsy, organic, and independent.
Further evidence of this BYU habit is seen in the music scene. Discussion of an upcoming concert or show will begin in class, and before anyone can reveal the venue or date of the event, a BYU kid pipes up “I heard of them first!” An excessive monologue then ensues, as the BYU kid elaborates on how he or she has loved the group even before they went mainstream or had any fan base. This BYU kid has been with them since the MySpace days.
This type of BYU kid shopped at Urban Outfitters first, bought a fixie first, wore cardigans first, watched the British Office before it was produced in the U.S., and supported Obama at the beginning of his campaign.
Now, to explain, BYU people insist they were first because they are afraid of appearing like they are just jumping on a bandwagon. Individuality is EXTREMELY important in a culture where everyone has the same beliefs, morals (more or less), and ancestors.
To make peace with an individuality seeking BYU student: find any opportunity to bring up a singer songwriter (Kate Nash or Andrew Bird might work) that is on the track to popularity and success and discuss how you went to their first show back in the beginning. The BYU student will either try to one-up you, by saying Kate Nash is his/her cousin (if this is the response—act so jealous), or he/she will be in awe of your fantastic taste. Either way, you most likely have a new BYU friend that you can shop for V-necks with.