AP NEWS

Social media poses social problems for incoming freshmen

April 28, 2019

The prospect of college means a clean slate in more ways than one. With these new beginnings comes the opportunity to meet new people and broaden your social horizons. The majority of adults who recall their college experience often allude to it being the “time of their lives” and a place where they met their “lifelong best friends.” Having said that, incoming freshmen can develop high expectations when it comes to how friendships are to form in college.

So, as technological advancements rapidly change what is deemed socially acceptable, there is seemingly an additional pressure for incoming freshmen to form these friendships across social media platforms, as if connecting in person is not challenging enough.

With every college acceptance these days comes the task of introducing yourself in your college Facebook group in order to appear approachable to other incoming freshmen. Although finding a roommate was based more off random selection in generations prior, Facebook group usage amongst colleges has taken away the desirability of “leaving it to fate” and replaced it with another arguably anxiety-ridden interaction online.

When asked how posting in her college of choice Facebook group for the first time made her feel, senior Samantha McClafferty said, “It gave me a lot of anxiety because you’re posting in a group with random people and there’s this pressure to say stuff you know they will like.”

As if reaching out over social media before attending your chosen college is not hard enough, there is also a pressure to maintain pages across various social media platforms that your incoming peers can relate to and be impressed by as well. When asked on whether getting into colleges had impacted the way she wanted to present herself across social media in order to establish online friendships, senior Lauren Ferrajina said, “I try to appear better than I am in person, presenting myself as someone who is always happy and always doing something interesting and jealousy inducing. In reality, I would be intimidated by my own persona across social media.”

Pressure towards establishing friendships and fitting in through the use of technology seems to be a growing problem for the silent majority of incoming freshmen alike.

The good news?

There are ways to combat these anxieties you could be facing. When posting in a college Facebook group, senior Dylan Friese says, “Be honest and try to go into the process open and free of judgement.”

When reaching out to find a roommate online, senior Katie Mcdonough says, “Have someone you’re already close with review your Facebook group posts and inform you if they truly sound like you so potential roommates can actually bond with you over your real likes and dislikes.” And when asked how to stay approachable, but also true to yourself on social media platforms, senior Sam Diamond says, “Try to introduce yourself with the same confidence you would have in person when you’re online, but don’t change who you are just to gain the approval of others.”

Hopefully these tips can reduce even a few college-related social stresses, but if all else fails remember to take this annoyingly predictable, yet applicable piece of advice: “just be yourself.”

Ivy Zingone is a senior at Stamford High School. This piece first appeared in The Round Table, a publication of Stamford High School.