Freshmen utilize Facebook to connect early

After making your college decision, there seems to be an unspoken rule that you are to immediately update your Facebook status with it, order a shirt from the online bookstore, and then, finally, join the class of “20-whatever” Facebook group, where you are thrust into meeting your 2,500 new classmates. Forget Aug.  18, this Facebook group is your unofficial orientation.

The conversation starts out general, as it often does at orientations. It starts with a “where’s everyone from?” and  soon becomes overwhelmed by everyone reppin’ their hometown.

After the introduction, there comes the “getting-to-know-everyone” game. “Hey! I’m Jackie and I love nice weather, having fun and being social! Work hard, party hard! Are there others out there like me?”

No way! That response received 200 likes! Who knew there was anyone else out there who liked those things?

The amiable atmosphere starts dulling away when one person has brings up the deadline to find your roommate.  After that, havoc ensues. All of a sudden, everyone is posting on each other’s walls, saying, “Still need a roommate! I’d prefer if you weren’t a kleptomaniac or someone who sleeps with a bag of toenails under their pillow, but I’d take anyone at this point. Add me!”

I immediately start getting friend requests with messages like, “Wanna room?”

Should I be turned off by their desperation and bluntness, or flattered that my default and hometown alone made them want to commit to breathing my same air for an entire school year?

It takes a lot of effort to screen potential roommate candidates. One girl listed “Bring It On 2” as her favorite movie – it could never work. Another could have been a good roommate, but she had a default with her cat and I’m totally allergic to them. What if she has cat hair on her clothes? Before you know it, I have  stalked them back to 2009 and know them better than I knew the lyrics to all of Blink 182’s songs.

I always heard that college was your chance to escape the choke hold high school had on your reputation, with its bleak walls preventing you from running free and being your true self. Every ‘90s family-oriented sitcom told me so. However, this was before Mark Zuckerberg showed up and Facebook changed the way we communicate forever.

You don’t just enter college blindly,  not knowing a single face besides that kid who graduated two years ago from your high school.  With those Facebook friends of yours, you now come in with a semi-clean slate.

There are pros and cons to living under the rules of a social networking site. While you can now find a group of people that watch “Entourage” as religiously as you do before you set foot on campus, everyone can see that mortifying photo tagged of you in 9th grade when you had a third-degree sunburn on your face. You decide: is it worth it?

August 24, 2011


Jackie Salo

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