On Making Connections: Facebook
There are many different kinds of connections we make throughout life, and a large part of University is making connections.
You have the chance to make connections with a large network of interesting people; professors, faculty, alumni, and other students.
In the day and age of social networking websites, mobile phones, and other quick-and-easy communication devices it seems to many as though we have lost the art of true in-person communication. However, I have a very strong belief that the internet and mobile phones offer gives our generation chances which previous generations were not afforded.
As an out-of-state student at Clark from over 2,000miles away, our ‘Official Class of 2015′ Facebook page gave me the chance to connect and speak with students at Clark before arriving. Other students, in Boston and many of the surrounding states, were able to meet up beforehand. Getting to know that there were people at Clark I could get along with before departing my home-state and leaving behind all of my friends was a comfort that I am glad to have known.
Now, despite the Clark Class of 2015 page being one of the first to explode with activity (and I mean explode, they were having talks about our class before we even arrived due to the anomaly of how active our page was), Facebook pages had been in use for some time. Many of the Universities I applied to even had their own Facebook applications for students to get to know one another prior to arrival.
While I have not remained in contact with the majority of the people I connected with on the Facebook page before arriving at Clark, a few of the people I spoke with are still among those I would consider my closest friends.
The reason this is coming up now is because of my Study Abroad journey to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. I had originally searched for a UEA ‘group’ in the hopes of finding and speaking with a few of the students who were also going to be attending UEA in the fall, but to no avail. Honestly, this lack of communication and connection beforehand caused me a decent amount of stress; would I get along with these other students?
Mind you, this was an empty concern. I have never had issues getting along with people or making friends, but for whatever reason, the inability for me to even try making new connections before arriving in the UK was stressful. I think the biggest reason was similar to that of when I was applying to mostly out-of-state institutions 3 years ago now — it’s a bit out of your comfort zone to go so far.
Thankfully, this week I received an email from UEA with information about a closed group for the house I’ll be living in - in 12 days.
Since joining this group I have had the chance to meet and learn things about a few of the people I’ll be living with, and I’ll be 100% honest with you, it’s reduced my stress about travelling so far away 10-fold. So far, I’ve discussed having cooking nights with a few of the other vegetarians in Britten house, introduced myself to people with similar interests, and even met another American student (from Washington!).
And of course, Facebook makes it so much easier to keep in touch with friends from home, and other states on breaks. Because of my phone and because of Facebook, I managed to actually strengthen friendships instead of letting them dwindle.
While I will admit that social media sites, such as Facebook, can be dangerous if not used properly (there were a few students whose admission to Clark was revoked for posts made on the 2015 page) I think that Facebook pages such as the Official Clark Class pages and the Britten House give University students the ability to make lasting and worthwhile friends in ways not possible before.
What have your experiences with social media and University been?
Are you happy that sites like Facebook exist or would you prefer to do things the ‘old fashioned’ way?
What is your preferred method of communication and connection?
(Answer below in the comments section OR tweet to me: @JessaLGreen with the hashtag #ClarkDiariesAnswers)