December 2, 2022 | CULUTRE | By Kira Smith
“Hey, excuse me,” calls a hopeful man. He is wearing a college sweatshirt or an ambiguous black jacket. His face is nice and neutral, nothing anyone will remember after this video, which is perfect because he is not the focus of this TikTok. The other person is… the person he is chasing. Or rather, the other person’s music.
This person is someone whose headphones are jammed in their ears or smashed over their messy hair on their way to class. We see their shoulders slumped under the weight of beginning a new day, unaware of the TikTok man running after them.
Maybe this video sounds familiar. It first appeared on TikTok a while ago and quickly captured the fascinations of many. Walking to class constitutes a seemingly insignificant amount of time in all our days. But, as college students, our schedules are fairly structured. Between class, studying, extracurriculars, work, and friends, the life of your average undergraduate is busy. These trivial tasks are how we build a life for ourselves. However, no matter how busy you get, nearly everyone has to commute to class. Whether you are walking across campus or scurrying across the street, this migration is something all students face. This begs the question: how do we pass the commute time today?
The man catches the person. “Excuse me, but what are you listening to right now?” The man thrusts a small microphone into the college student’s surprised and embarrassed face. The person answers quickly, maybe taking a second to look down at their phone or pause their music to hear the question. As soon as the name of the song is given the man says thank you and the busy student keeps walking.
The final shot is the random person walking away, off to class, a coffee shop, or the dining hall as the soundtrack of the song they are listening to plays in the background. There you have it: the viral TikTok trend that mysteriously captured the fascination of millions and left us all wondering what everyone else might be thinking about or listening to on their morning walk to class.
So, what are Colorado College students doing as they scurry between Mathias and Armstrong, Bemis, and Tutt Science? What do our students listen to between the hours of 8:50 and 9:00? Unfortunately, the answer is less enthralling than these TikTok videos might lead you to believe.
“Um, a podcast… I think.” – AJ Fabbri ’25 “One of the new Taylor Swift songs.” – Kellie Hopper ‘25 “I’m too tired to put in my headphones.” – Abby Heimerl ‘25
These answers, and my peers’ lack of enthusiasm when recalling their morning commute, did not paint the interpersonal picture that the TikTok had, and yet our walks to class constitute a significant part of our day. How could it be that no one looked back on their morning walk with any sense of joy or promise beyond the hope of reaching their final destination? Is it possible that these TikToks are giving us false hope for what a commute time could say about a person?
When asked about these videos, Kelsey Pivnick ’25 said, “Sometimes I think about those videos on my way to class and I change my music because I don’t want to be dorky.” Indeed, these videos were so interesting because they provided a rare glimpse into what people do to pass time. Even if you don’t remember your walk to class, even if you don’t look back on it fondly, it is possibly the only time in our day when we truly have no one to impress.
What Pivnick unknowingly demonstrated was that unless you think you are going to be interviewed on TikTok, what you listen to on your walk to class is something you do just for yourself. At least… that is unless a TikTok man comes running up to you.