By Hillary Chang, First Year Sociology
Facebook has been widely established as the perennial platform for University and College students. But how relevant and prevalent is this global internet phenomenon in contemporary student life?
Though the networking platform has garnered much controversy over the years for its baneful psychological effects, one may necessitate its prominence through the
emergence of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), a term characterized by an anxious, uneasy fear of social exclusion arising from the social dynamics of Social Media.
It’s no surprise then that the advent, cutting-edge platform has been underpinned as essential amongst University students worldwide, and in particular, Freshers in the UK who are about to enroll in their chosen Universities or those who are already in University. Unlike earlier times where having a Facebook account was deemed "unsavvy", only to be utilized by adults and baby boomers, its use has indubitably proliferated amongst Millennials in recent years.
I can attest to just how crucial Facebook is to student life
As someone who’d always been a dormant user of the site, I can attest to just how crucial Facebook is to student life, and notably in University where the mass majority now rely on the app as a socially obligatory avenue of meaningful networking through Messenger and Facebook groups and keeping au courant with a diverse array of socials and events, as well as the latest news.
Not having an account has been dubbed as a quicksand to social oblivion and isolation, as one may liken a deserted island remote from other cities.
Although several social networking channels such as Instagram have emanated, Facebook has undoubtedly remained an unwavering infrastructure for students to
establish connections with their fellow peers whilst finding like-minded individuals who share a communal interest; such as being added into a group with people who read the same degree as them in University, or in a society of interest.
The conglomeration of society, halls, and course group chats has enabled students to familiarize themselves with their course-mates
Moreover, Universities have now attached links to their respective student groups on Facebook in their acceptance packages, with the most predominant being the annual
Freshers’ group chat designed to allow new students to interact with one another. It helps Freshers to navigate their way through Welcome Week with important updates on the eclectic slew of social and mandatory school events, as well as ease their transition into a daunting, life-changing environment.
It can then be construed that Facebook has been transformed into a curriculum and an extensive social domain by Universities to effectively assimilate students into University life, or as I would like to personify it – a ‘blessing in disguise’. Virtually every fragment of vital information has been made readily accessible to students in a click away.
The conglomeration of society, halls and course group chats has also enabled students to familiarize themselves with their course-mates, including engaging in vivacious discussions about ideas and topics relevant to their breadth of study, asking for help and support, keeping themselves informed with current affairs and contriving their social life from scratch.
Had I not made the wise decision to join my Freshers group chats amongst many others, I would’ve been completely disoriented and unsettled when I’d first arrived to University.
It was through my University Facebook group chats that I’d found moving away from home and adapting from Sixth Form to University significantly less intimidating and
insurmountable, and settling down in a brand new city remarkably less nerve-wracking. Likewise, the amount of mental support I have acquired through being a part of my University well-being group chat has enabled me to find my health struggles a little less challenging.
Furthermore, it was through joining Epigram’s Facebook group chat that has landed me in crafting this article and seizing the abundant of exciting opportunities around me, such as being an editor at HerCampus Magazine, reigniting my passion for Martial Arts and working as a club representative. All of these have etched an integral milestone in my educational and personal trajectory.
So back to the crux of it all – is Facebook essential to student life? I would argue very much so. Not only is it undeniably crucial to keeping up to date with events and updates, it is a base superstructure for friendships and networking for many.
Faetured image: William Iven / Unsplash
Do we under-appreciate the power of Facebook as a force for good?