Although people love to bash technology – specifically modern-day social media – there are some benefits that can’t be denied. As I’ve been preparing for my first year of college this fall (68 more days to go!) I’ve found myself becoming more and more thankful for social media.
By the time I attended freshman orientation at the beginning of June, I’d already joined the Facebook group for Class of 2022, as well as the 2022 GroupMe chat and a Snapchat group for the College of Arts and Science, and had “met” a few people attending my school from those social media platforms. In fact, I met up with a girl who I met in the Group Me discussion – who I now consider a friend – at the airport so we could help each other navigate the way through the crazy city of Boston to campus, as we’d both only visited once before. If I hadn’t been able to meet her thanks to social media, I probably would’ve gotten lost by myself, and I wouldn’t have had the comfort of a companion (safety comes in numbers – remember that!) and someone to laugh with when the Charlie Card machine didn’t work.
When I reached campus, inbetween the icebreakers that felt a little bit like elementary school and everyone trying to create their Fall semester schedule, I had people who I’d talked to online or who recognized me from a chat or the Facebook group coming up to me and saying hi. I’d also go up to people who I recognized and ask, “Hey, are you ______?” I’m great with faces but admittedly bad with names, but, by some miracle, I was lucky enough to be right each time during orientation when I guessed someone’s name who I thought I’d seen online before.
Everyone is equally nervous during orientation, just wanting to make friends, and if walking up to strangers and introducing yourself isn’t exactly your thing, it makes you feel more comfortable to see a familiar face to say “hi” to; it’s much easier to walk up to someone you recognize – even just from pictures online – than someone who you have no prior knowledge of. I’m pretty good at putting myself out there, but for people who aren’t, social media connections before orientation or before the first day of classes can ease a lot of anxiety.
In today’s world, it’s a common (and very valid) argument that social media is ruining our face-to-face connections. However, in the experience I’ve had so far, social media has already been helping me through this major change. Moving to a whole new city, bigger than anywhere I’ve been before and where I don’t know a single soul, isn’t nearly as hard as I imagined it to be because of the ability of the modern world to make connections before I even arrive. For me, it’s done the opposite of ruining my face-to-face connections: it’s helped me to form them.