The Binge Movement: 20 Things College Students are Currently Obsessing Over & Addicted To

The binge movement is having a moment. As a term, hashtag and activity, the binge phenomenon has firmly implanted itself into all corners of pop culture and proven especially trendy among college students and the Millennial generation.

It began with binge eating and drinking. It segued to binge watching. And now 21st-century teens and early twentysomethings are proudly and secretly bingeing on every conceivable food, drink, drug, product, activity, article of clothing, celebrity, TV show, movie, mobile app, book series, website, hashtag, video game, form of exercise, travel location, social movement and (whew) sports team.

In the spirit of this binge boom, I recently asked my own students to share a bit about what they’re currently bingeing on. Specifically, I wanted to know what they most intensely and consistently obsess over, engage in or can’t live without. I was also interested in what fuels their particular binge focus and the impact it is having on their lives and the lives of those around them.

Below is a sampling of their responses — discussing binges centered on everything from sneakers, cigarettes, gourmet cheese and meditation to “Entourage,” “Age of Empires,” BuzzFeed and the Baltimore Ravens.

I BINGE ON SNEAKERS. It’s something of a bad habit, considering the average price of each pair I buy is $200. There are endless amounts of sneakers in the world today. Literally, new ones are released every week. With different colors and design schemes on every pair, the opportunities to look good and have a respectable collection that will gain value over time are too awesome to pass up. I’m always browsing Facebook groups, Instagram accounts and sneaker brand websites. I find it greatly enjoyable to constantly see how many other people and companies embrace sneakers as something more than just shoes. The reason for having so many pairs is simple: You don’t wear the same pair of underwear every day, so why would I wear the same sneakers every day?” – Matthew Bedrossian, junior English major at Saint Joseph’s University (SJU)

I BINGE ON MUSIC. For as long as I can remember, music has been omnisciently present in my life. Whether it was my mom’s favorite U2 album or the soundtrack to the latest Disney movie, from the time I was a child, music was always playing in my house. I am constantly listening to something — anything from classic rock to whatever is on the radio — and the fact that people can do something in silence completely baffles me. How do you go about your day without music playing in the background? Everything I do — from walking to class to completing homework — is done to music. Quiet is great, but having your favorite song playing while you tackle your latest assignment is even better. While I love the instant gratification of iTunes and Spotify, my favorite music format is vinyl. I collect mostly vintage vinyl. I have everything from AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ to Queen’s ‘A Night at the Opera.’ Music has shaped who I am. Without it, I would be totally lost.” – Angela Christaldi, sophomore English and communication studies double major at SJU

I BINGE ON THE BALTIMORE RAVENS. This is sad to admit, but I have 11 Ravens jerseys and a countless amount of team hats, shirts and sweatshirts. I have never missed watching a game. I even pay an extra $150 on my cable package back home in Baltimore to be able to stream the games on my computer. I’ve skipped school and other events multiple times to attend home and away games. I was even threatened with an ‘F’ for missing class one semester in high school, but I decided to skip anyway — seeing the Ravens play at Lambeau Field is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. When it isn’t football season, I find myself sad and not sure what to do on Sundays. When I am bored, I will go on the Ravens mobile app and watch game highlights that I’ve seen multiple times already. Some of the most thrilling moments of my life have come from watching Ravens games, including the team’s 2012 Super Bowl run. I think one thing that makes me like the Ravens even more than I already do is the fact that everyone outside Baltimore, for the most part, absolutely despises them.” – Sam Emerick, junior sports marketing major at SJU

I BINGE ON CHEESE. I love cheese. I religiously go to cheese tasting events at Di Bruno Brothers grocery store in Center City Philadelphia. I ask for cheese in my stocking for Christmas and on any other special occasion. A brick of cheese lasts me two days. However, I refuse to eat Kraft cheese or any store-bought cheese. Nothing pisses me off more than going to a friend’s house and being offered store-bought Kraft Colby-Jack. I cringe when I see that. It is so fake and rubbery. My cheese must be from Di Bruno Brothers or be a gourmet cheese. I love Hivarti cheese and a thicker mozzarella inside an olive is great. I also love an aged provolone and I find myself eating gorgonzola aged cheese a lot lately. When I go home for breaks, the first thing I do is walk into my kitchen, take two bricks of cheese and bite into them so no one else in my house will eat them. For this reason, my parents always have a large amount of cheese ready for me to eat.” – Angelena Minniti, sophomore communication studies major at SJU

I BINGE ON USELESS INFORMATION. The more off-beat and obscure, the better. I cannot tell you anything sort of practical — like how magnets work or the names of state capitals. But if you ever want to know about unusual parts of speech or the use of fonts in Wes Anderson movies, I’m here for you. I blame my parents. Coming from a family who watches “Jeopardy” like some people watch sports, and who have been known to play Trivial Pursuit at parties, random tidbits of knowledge are in no short supply in my house. I have probably made it worse for myself by spending a troubling amount of time clicking through Wikipedia pages and learning about random topics like palm reading, medical oddities and the weird stuff that lives on the bottom of the ocean. I do absolutely nothing with this information, though, aside from saving it in a massive folder on my laptop called ‘info’ — which I sometimes look when I’m avoiding homework. Unlike the rest of my family, I don’t even know enough about any one area to consider myself somewhat of an expert. But, in the middle of a conversation, I am good for the occasional ‘Did you know?’” – Katie White, sophomore English major at SJU 

I BINGE ON ‘AGE OF EMPIRES: CASTLE SIEGE.’ I would play it constantly on my tablet if such a thing were possible. But it’s not. ‘AoE: CS’ is not a game that can be played recklessly. One must take the time to gather resources, namely food, wood and stone, in order to build and upgrade all defenses for one’s ‘Keep.’ Upgrading defenses is constantly on the back-burner in my mind because, to add insult to injury, the game is played in real time. At any moment, my ‘Keep’ in the Russian countryside could be attacked and plundered by other players.” – Caroline Keenan, senior English and communication studies double major at SJU

I BINGE ON VINE. When the Vine app first became popular during my senior year of high school, it was all anyone could talk about. But soon after, Instagram introduced videos to its site which lasted longer than Vine’s six-second limit. With that, Instagram was back on top and Vine left behind. But I have never abandoned it. I hate the Nash Grier-type users — the overly-acted videos are not funny in the slightest. However, the raw, weird videos which everyday people post are extremely hilarious. In that sense, Vine is almost like a little corner of the Internet for weirdoes like myself who love to laugh at silly things which the average person may not find at all humorous. Although the videos are only six seconds long, they are so amusing that I cannot help but continue to watch, continue to watch and continue to watch … until I realize it is 2 a.m. and I need to go to sleep. You know you are addicted to a site when you use its videos to communicate with your friends. My two best friends and I text every single day, but instead of using words, we use Vine.” – Hannah Ratkiewicz, sophomore communication studies major at SJU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6JNx4FVV-o

I BINGE ON WENDY’S. I could absolutely eat it every day, even though I try not to. I go through that drive-thru at least twice each week. I only get the four-piece nugget and medium fries though. It’s just so convenient. I don’t have to get out of my car. And I eat while I drive home because I just can’t wait. It’s definitely dangerous, and certainly isn’t healthy. I am basically just super-lazy and don’t feel like cooking for myself. My mom tries to tell me what is actually in the nuggets and how the fries are drenched in fattening oil, but I’m addicted. I think it tastes way better than the food at McDonalds and Burger King. They just don’t do nuggets like Wendy’s does. The nuggets there somehow taste healthier, so I just tell myself they are.” – Allie Fasanella, junior communication studies major at SJU

I BINGE ON HBO’S ‘ENTOURAGE.’ I’m watching the series for the second time now, so that once the movie hits theaters, it will be like the show never stopped. I can’t get enough of Vinny Chase, Drama, E, Turtle and Ari. The characters never cease to make me laugh out loud — with their ridiculous harebrained schemes and highly offensive one-liners. I love to hate Drama for his grotesque pick-up lines and sleazy Ed Hardy wardrobe. I also don’t think I’ve heard more wit in any character than I have in Ari Gold. Some of the vulgarity which comes out of his mouth should not be legal to air via any form of media. Turtle (played by Jerry Ferrara) holds a special place in my heart as well. I’ve had a crush on Turtle ever since I saw him pull up in the yellow Hummer, wearing an XXL tall tee, during the pilot episode. I frequently leave comments on Ferrara’s Instagram pictures asking him to marry me. Doug Ellin and Mark Wahlberg are creative geniuses for making this absolute masterpiece of a television series. I am counting down the days until the Entourage movie hits theaters, one episode at a time.” – Mary D’Arienzo, senior food marketing major at SJU

I BINGE ON MEDITATION. While usually a healthy practice, during the past few weeks I have taken this peaceful act and turned it into a rampage of mantras, yoga mats and excessive zen. I have always been an advocate for a holistic life, making exercise and health a central focus in my daily activities. My most recent progression in personal health is the sense of ‘self’ that I discovered during my semester abroad. After returning from Europe and reentering the hectic lifestyle of a typical American, I realized I needed an outlet through which I could turn my focus internally. I started attending a meditation class every day during the break. I dragged my friends to class, planned my day around class to ensure that I wouldn’t be late and read up on articles about the benefits of meditation. While initially this was a positive outlet and stress-reliever, it soon began to play a larger role in my life. If someone cut me off on the interstate, I needed to meditate. After reading a heated political article in The Washington Post at breakfast, I needed to meditate. After going on a terrible date, I went home and meditated. In my mind, I was walking around with the perfect mindset, like that of a well-trained Buddhist monk. But in reality I had more in common with a sociopathic yogi.” – Rachel Quinn, junior English and communication studies double major at SJU

I BINGE ON BABY CARROTS AND RANCH DIP. Not just any ranch dip — I only eat T Marzetti Light Ranch. For as long as I can remember, we had this dip in my house, and I’ve chomped on carrots since I had teeth. I also love vegetables, so carrots and dip only further fuel that addiction. If we don’t have either carrots or Marzetti ranch in my house, I will have words with my mother. I reach for my carrots and dip regularly as a snack or make a huge veggie spread and have it for lunch. My life has probably been impacted by this binge in a positive way — because carrots and dip are a healthier alternative than salty corn chips and dip. But I would like to clarify that I am not trying to prove a ‘healthier lifestyle’ point by choosing carrots and dip over chips and queso. I just happen to really love them.” – Maddie Morr, junior communication studies major at SJU

I BINGE ON DRAKE, AKA OCTOBER’S VERY OWN. It doesn’t matter whether I’m at the gym, hanging out with friends or in the shower — give me some Drake. It all started when I went to Cancun on spring break last year. We listened to ‘Nothing Was The Same’ and ‘Take Care’ non-stop for the duration of the trip. Since then, the Drake kick has been real. The interesting thing is that he is not even my favorite artist. I just associate his music with having a good time and it gives me a sort of euphoric mindset. It has come to the point where I listen to it ad nauseam and know every word to almost every song. My recently-played list on my iPod consists of 80 percent Drake songs at all times — and I kind of hate myself for it. Nevertheless, his newest album ‘Views From the 6′ is slated for release this spring. If it does not come out before my planned trip to Florida, I probably won’t even go.” – Matt Mosca, senior marketing major at SJU 

I BINGE ON PLAYING WITH MY EARS. Now I understand you might read that first sentence and really question my strange obsession, but I have been participating in this incredibly amusing activity since I discovered how soft my ears are. It’s not like I just touch them. The main portion of my ear-playing activity is to twist my ears inside of themselves. Is that confusing? I have unattached earlobes, so it is quite easy to twist my ears all sorts of directions. I sit in class and rub my ears because I can and because they are too soft not to touch. The best time to play with my ears is when they are cold — but not too cold — because I can flip them inside my eardrum and they immediately warm up. I swear I’m not that weird. My boyfriend constantly tries to pull my hand away from my ears when I play with them, but I just can’t help myself.” – Maggie Hickey, junior communication studies major at SJU

I BINGE ON ‘UFC UNDISPUTED 3.’ This is an Xbox 360 game which centers on, you guessed it, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I bought the game over Christmas break and brought it back to my house near campus. My roommates and I have been playing it every day since. There is a weird, almost savage enjoyment we get out of beating the living crap out of each other in the game. We say we have all acquired a veritable, or at least virtual, ‘blood lust.’ The game is all I think about currently, and whenever I have down time I find myself playing. The sad thing is that I don’t own an Xbox, so when I graduate after this semester the game will be pretty much useless to me. Maybe I’ll give it to my roommate, if I’m feeling generous. For now though, I’ll continue beating the crap out of him.” – Tim Naylor, senior communication studies major at SJU

I BINGE ON BUZZFEED. It is my go-to choice for news and procrastination. I will literally spend hours on BuzzFeed without noticing how much time has actually passed. I think what feeds my addiction is the variety of content. I can go on and read a serious piece about our modern culture and then in just a click switch to reading a list of everyone’s favorite TV shows. If the website didn’t exist, I honestly would feel so out of the loop about what is going on in the world. I rarely watch the news, so getting updates online is how I stay in the know — and BuzzFeed just makes it so easy. All of my friends know it is my favorite website, too. They will find an interesting or funny BuzzFeed article and assume I have already read it — because usually I have. If by chance I haven’t read it, after expressing their shock, they will send it to me immediately.” – Caitlin Lombardi, sophomore communication studies major at SJU

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I BINGE ON CIGARETTES. Some people drink coffee to get through the day, but unfortunately, I smoke cigarettes. It’s a personal choice I am not proud of, but not ashamed to admit. I started smoking in high school and have yet to quit, despite a few perfunctory attempts. I believe that an addictive personality, along with social influence and stress, has fueled my binge. Once I came to college, my need for cigarettes only worsened — not necessarily because of the price drop that accompanied moving from New York to Philadelphia. It was most likely due to the increased levels of stress that came with a more demanding curriculum. I am not an advocate for smoking, nor would I ever attempt to persuade anyone to start. But I do believe smokers are one of the few groups of people who are legally discriminated against. People turn, shake their heads and cough in dismay, but how can you judge someone you don’t know, someone who has made a choice in their own life? While I plan on quitting as soon as I muster the courage, knowing I can make my own choice — whether it affects me for better or worse — is something I will definitely keep bingeing on.” – Chris Hogan, sophomore communication studies major at SJU 

I BINGE ON PINTEREST. It’s truly a blessing and a curse. Whenever I’m bored, I pull up my Pinterest app and browse through what my friends find re-pin worthy. If I’m in need of a new workout plan, I check out the latest ‘Six Weeks to Six-Pack’ challenge. Come mid-semester, when the stress of my social life and grades start weighing me down, I turn to Pinterest for uplifting, inspirational quotes. There is also, of course, the Pinterest pièce de résistance: my wedding board. Cleverly coined ‘Hopeless Romantic,’ this coveted board holds all my wedding dress, decoration and theme dreams. I have planned my wedding on Pinterest nine times over, and I don’t even have a boyfriend. Bottom line, when I pin, I escape into a world where I am healthier, wealthier, and an all-around better person.” – Carla Pontarelli, senior English major at SJU

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I BINGE ON PROCRASTINATION. I can never shake the feeling that there is always time to get things done later. I always wait for the last possible second to turn something in or complete a task. Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that I think better and my creative juices flow more freely when I am pressed for time — even though deep in my subconscious I know that is completely and utterly false. I often have a timeline of what I am supposed to do and when I am supposed to do it. Then, eventually, I think to myself, ‘I can push this back. I can move this to later on. I am not doing anything anyway.’ But at the end of the day, I always regret having wasted so much time procrastinating. This affected me most in high school when I was turning in all my college applications at once through The Common Application. The application was due at midnight and it was about 11:50 p.m. when I finally pushed submit. It turns out every other kid had the same idea as me and the website server was overloaded. My heart sank to my toes. Since then, I vowed not to procrastinate, but I have not been faithful to my promise.” – Ayanna McNeil, sophomore English major at SJU

I BINGE ON CAR NEWS AND REVIEWS. I wake up every morning and check Car and Driver Magazine, Road & Track and Motor Trend for scoops about the latest releases or updates on models — including news about my personal favorite car right now, the new Cadillac CTS V. There truly is not a moment when I don’t have the urge to check those sites. I also watch the YouTube videos for Motor Trend car reviews at a prodigious rate. In fact, my only complaint is that the magazine doesn’t record and release enough car videos fast enough. For now though, I’ve seen every review and basically idolize Carlos Lago, the associate road test editor featured in the vids. Have any questions about a car or want to simply test my car knowledge? Go ahead. I love the challenge.” – Christian Kennedy, junior marketing major at SJU

I BINGE ON MAGAZINES. I experience an electrifying high when I flip through the glossy pages of the latest Vogue or Cosmopolitan. (Have you seen the latest Cosmo cover with Kendall Jenner? There’s no way those lips are real!) These magazines are my golden tickets into a world of beautiful possibilities, kaleidoscopic lipstick shades, stiletto-length eyelashes and runway inspired fashion. I crave it all — the silly quizzes, flat interviews and horoscopes. I don’t read magazines in a conventional way. Rather, I feverishly flip to the back and read my horoscope first (I am a true Cancer), then continue to indulge in the content from back to front. My obsession began as bribery. When I was a kid, my mom promised to buy me a magazine if I went with her to the grocery store. I started reading Teen Vogue, then Seventeen and, eventually, Cosmopolitan. This bedside bible, however, was forbidden in my house, so I regularly bought copies when I was out with friends and hide them in my closet. My mom would be decking the halls for Christmas, while upstairs I was secretly reading how to ‘sex the halls.’” – Kelly Wittman, sophomore English major at SJU

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