I stumbled across a blog post a few weeks ago about how social media was ruining the traditional college experience. To me this seemed like a bold statement and more a matter of opinion. A large percentage of millennials are in college or heading to college this fall – it is interesting to think about how the generation with the highest social media consumption is experiencing college differently. The integration of social media is inevitable and offers some enhancement to the experience.
1. Finding Roommates
Pot luck. The greatest fear of any pre-freshman student. What could be worse than arriving to your new college dorm and having an awful roommate? Thank you to Facebook going pot luck is no longer a problem. Most colleges now have Facebook pages for incoming freshman classes to exchange information and search for a potential roommate. This enables students to get to know a potential roommate, and maybe Facebook stalk a bit, before making any final decisions.
2. University Apps
I went to IU Bloomington my freshman year of college and the IU app saved me. It provided everything from my class schedule and locations, bus schedules, sporting events, meal point tracking, and where the printers were located on that huge campus. The app was a great resource for an incoming freshman and a way to stay connected to the large university mobiley.
3. Staying Connected
One of the hardest things about going to college is being separated from old friends and family. As exciting as heading off to create a new identity is, it can be difficult to leave your friends and family behind. I was blessed that many of my friends went to IU, but was devastated to be separated from my best friend who was attending Ball State. Lucky for me there was Facebook, Twitter, Skype and text to help us stay connected and involved in each other’s lives.
4. Getting Involved
It is important and exciting to get involved in campus activities, clubs and events. When I was at IU, I was involved in student run clubs, external volunteer work and attended many university productions. I became aware of these events and opportunities through Facebook. Friends would share a performance or an opportunity to come to a club call out meeting. Without the use of social networking sites I would have been much less aware of the activities going on around campus and would have met a lot less people my freshman year.
In all, social media enhanced my college experience – created ease in transitioning to a new place, while still being able to be connected to home. It helped me get involved in the community and meet new people. While social media is capable of causing more distractions in class, we are all adults in college and should have the sense to know better.