Countdown to College: The (Online) Class of 2013

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Back in December, after receiving my wonderfully thick acceptance package; dashing around my house while screaming bloody murder; hugging my mom/dad/dog/the mortified mailman; and texting everyone on my contacts list with blazing speed, I slowed down for a moment and composed myself at my computer. Still hyperventilating yet functioning relatively well, I logged into Facebook and did a quick search for my university’s class of 2013 group, which I had been secretly stalking for the past few days as admitted students began trickling into the members list. Without a moment’s hesitation, I clicked to join the group and sat back in my chair, relishing the second my admission became official – in cyberspace.

After all, if there’s anything the technology age has taught me, it’s that nothing is true until it’s posted to the Internet for the rest of the world to see.

For the first few days, I joined my fellow ‘13ers in the “Get To Know You” type thread and the obligatory message board games (which are excellent procrastination tools, if nothing else). I found myself growing more and more excited for the fall as each new name and face joined the group and posted an emoticon demonstrating their enthusiasm. But soon, the newness began to wear off and the extreme jubilation with it. Once the overall college craze at my school quieted down, I quickly forgot the group even existed. That is, until the friending frenzy began.

Some members of the group went on friend request rampages as soon as they joined, randomly requesting ‘13ers they hadn’t even interacted with in the group and racking up the mutual friend count on their profiles. At first, I figured they were being friendly and trying to get to know some of their future classmates, but only a couple of the friending crusaders made any attempt to communicate with those of us they requested. What was up their sleeves?

Nothing, it seemed, except for a desire to break 1,000 on their friend lists. I found it bizarre that these kids would make their first impression on their future classmates in such an obnoxious fashion. I shied away from them and instead began messaging ‘13ers with whom I had things in common, building the groundwork for new friendships.

While the Facebook friending frenzy was unnecessary and rather immature, I’ve met some ‘13ers through the group that I’m really looking forward to meeting in April at admitted students’ day. The next step is to step out of cyberspace and meet these new acquaintances face-to-face at our home for the next four years.

I just wonder sometimes if meeting these people online first is a good thing, or a terrible idea. What do you think?

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