Freshmen foster online connections prior to school’s start

Class of ‘22 uses social media to get to know their peers ahead of time.

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This week, thousands of incoming freshmen will be flooding MU’s campus looking to make new friends and have new experiences. But what has become an increasing trend is that many freshmen have already met a few of their peers through social media. One example is freshman Kylie West from Allen, Texas who used Snapchat and Facebook to connect with other freshmen prior to coming to Columbia.

“I didn’t know anyone going to Mizzou before finding people through social media, and I was very nervous, but I knew I still wanted to go to Mizzou,” West said. “So the whole social media thing has helped me get to know people ahead of time, which has made me so much more comfortable about going out-of-state.”

Students have joined Facebook groups, GroupMe group messages, added each other on Snapchat, found roommates through looking at Twitter hashtags and so much more. Social media has given incoming students a chance to connect with each other before they even step foot on campus. Freshman Jake Fein says it’s given him the opportunity to share his common nerves and become even more confident in his decision to come to Mizzou.

“The best part of getting to know people on social media has been knowing that there is someone who is going through the same things you are,” Fein said. “Because a lot of time you’re nervous about going to a new place and trying to meet new people, but just talking to other people and seeing that they’re nervous too is really comforting. It’s made me even more excited about the school year.”

Facebook groups like ‘Mizzou Class of 2022’ give incoming students a platform to find someone to carpool home with, buy a parking pass off of or promote clubs and organizations they plan to partake in.

“It’s made my parents feel better knowing that I have resources,” freshman Delanie Vinzant said. “I don’t drive, and I live four hours away, but some of the people I’ve met have said that they only live an hour away from me, so we could carpool. It’s comforting to my parents that I already have friends there and I won’t be alone.”

Freshmen parents have also joined in on the social media action. There’s a ‘Mizzou Parents and Families of 2022’ Facebook group where parents are able to talk about their own fears of sending their kids off to college. According to Fein, parents also use the platform to share pictures and what their child is majoring in with the hope of finding an online community of their own.

“My mom is always scrolling through Facebook asking me if I know this girl or that guy; ‘he’s going to Mizzou,’” Fein said. “They’re excited for me too because they want me to be successful and meet new friends. It’s their way of getting involved.”

Naysayers may claim that social media is ruining this generation’s ability to connect, but as the class of ’22 has proven, it gives students an opportunity to foster even more relationships.

Edited by Alexandra Sharp | asharp@themaneater.com

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