Girl Online: Perceptions of College

Hello, Tufts! 

Coming back here for my second year, I immediately recognized the palpable feeling of excitement and anxiety in the air. Walking around campus during orientation made me feel like I was reliving my life a year ago, trying to figure out every little thing I didn’t know.

I have a lot of issues with Instagram: So many that I completely deleted my account this past February. My basic argument against most forms of social media, that I’ll go deeper into as the semester goes on, is that it has completely changed how we live, and not for the better. I’m writing this column to expose things that people might not notice because they’ve become so commonplace in adolescent and college life but are only secured on the shaky foundations of social media. Since deleting Instagram, I have noticed that so much of how we go through life is subconsciously to please the outward population of society rather than to make ourselves happier people. 

It’s really difficult to not have expectations of college coming in as a first-year, as the media presents a certain narrative of what the college experience is supposed to be. Realistically, I knew when coming to Tufts that life was not going to be one continuous string of tailgates, football games and fraternity parties, but all I had previously seen on social media about college were pictures of people at huge parties having what looks like the time of their lives. You can read every article or watch every Youtube video, but it’s impossible to fully understand how college works until you hit the ground running. Though everyone’s transition into college is different, no one’s experience will ever completely match up to the perceptions of school that they have coming in.

Like most first-years, I was nervous coming into school and doing things the right way. For some reason, I had the assumption that life would be flawless and that I’d spend every moment with my friends while managing my schoolwork at the same time. Quickly, I realized that this was not the case. I met people quickly, but when I had moments alone, I felt like I was doing something wrong. There was pressure to be social coming from all angles, and as a result, the first few weeks of my first year were a blur of hopping from person to person. It’s disappointing to feel like things are going to be one way and then learn that college isn’t a collection of perfectly happy moments, and no one tells us that it’s just part of life.

We constantly compare the intricacies of our lives to other people’s highlight reels, and when you’re sitting in your room on a Saturday night, it stings just that much more. But there will be little moments in this crazy time that make things feel a little more normal. And strangely, there is some comfort in the strange.


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