Wednesday, 1 April 2015

How Facebook Has Ruined The University Experience

Back in the day people regarded university as a life-changing experience where the person would never be the same again, make forever friends and learn many life lessons along the way. 

I would argue that nowadays things have changed, and not for the better.

When most people move to university, they already have an established group of friends that they've probably had for years. By the time you're eighteen you will all have the same kind of sense of humour, tonnes of shared memories, and the same kind of interests and hobbies. As a teenager groups of friends mould together and shape each other in ways that adult friends don't. Because everyone is trying to find their identity, bits and pieces from the people you're close to all merge together in each person. 

In university some people might go and have the goal of making a whole new group of friends, either to replace or add to the ones they already have. Some people might just want to make friends so they don't spend their three years alone. Some people go without having a solid group of friends and wanting to find some like they perceive everyone else to have.

However I think the popularity of Facebook and the commonality of unlimited texts and huge amounts of minutes on mobile phones makes it harder than ever to do this. If you're one of those people who went/is going to university to make a group of new friends then don't feel bad if you end up either not making any or just a few that you'll actually speak to after graduation. More than likely these people will be some of your house mates. Some of the people you'll end up disliking the most will be some of your house mates. But most people are still heavily in contact with their friends because it's so easy to, and they are unwilling to let these people go. Understandably.

These years-old friends know and like you for who you really are, and to keep up with each other's lives you just need to log in to Facebook, message about what's going on, and get a reply almost instantly. If you wanted to, you could literally talk all day to your friend at home through texts, calls, and Facebook. There's not really many excuses to not talk to your friends from home. And while your head and heart are at home you can't really put yourself fully to the challenge of making new friends and memories. Why would you want to put the effort in to make new friends when your old and established friends are just a click away?

Another way Facebook has ruined the university experience is through comparing yourself to others too much. There is no privacy anymore. While you're feeling down and homesick and like you're alone in the world, binge watching some TV show by yourself, and you log into Facebook, all you see is the best of everyone else's lives. No one posts their homesickness or their bad days. It's all partying, going out for food, having a great time, making memories... All the things you want to be doing all the time. By comparing yourself to the edited online versions of other people you're only doing yourself a disservice. Real life is not like Facebook life. 

So why don't we all try putting down our phones for a while, making an effort with other people who are probably feeling exactly the same as us, and stop judging ourselves and our lives compared to the best parts of others'.