When I first arrived on campus in the fall of 2008, I already had a reputation. Of course, it was a very small reputation, and fortunately, it had nothing to do with being a slutty prospie. Yet by the time move-in day arrived, I had plenty of friends waiting for me at college.
How did I become so prematurely popular, you ask? Well, I suppose now I should clarify: I did not yet have actual, physical friends in Claremont—just lots and lots of new Facebook friends, whose names and profile pictures I could recognize with alarming accuracy despite never having met them in real life. Now that I am older and wiser, I find it embarrassing that I have yet to actually encounter some of those people who I had initially been so excited about. However, I am not alone in experiencing this phenomenon.
After ripping open much-anticipated acceptance letters, many students immediately join the Facebook group for their incoming class. So it comes as no surprise that the Pomona College Class of 2014 Facebook group is already going strong. In fact, regular decision letters were mailed this past week, so things should really start to heat up soon. Last year, I found it highly entertaining to occasionally check out the 2013 group. Not in a creepy, looking-for-prospective-hook-ups kind of way, of course, but in a “oh, look, aren’t they adorable” sort of way.
Although, I must admit, not all of them were adorable. Some people had the audacity—and the naiveté—to promise to host “ragers” on dull weeknights, while others mercilessly pounced on those with poor grammar (in some cases, only to discover retrospectively that English was not the other person’s first language). If you subscribe to the idea that a person’s Facebook activity reveals a lot about their personality, then the 2013 Facebook group was a goldmine for incoming students with strong personalities asserting themselves with every wall post, discussion topic, and status update.
Thus far, the 2014 group has been much more politically correct. And, therefore, much more boring. In a thread titled “Let’s introduce ourselves!” Joseph* lists off all 20 of his extracurricular activities, almost as if he copied and pasted directly from the Common Application. Rachel* takes four lengthy paragraphs to describe herself, during which the word “laidback” is used at least three times. In related news, she is clearly not laidback. Nicole* likes to employ lots of emoticons and excessive punctuation to illustrate her excitement. In general, it seems that everyone is “stoked to be in Cali,” and every single encounter with the number 47, no matter how miniscule, is promptly documented.
Although discussion topics include semi-interesting topics such as “AIM screen names?” and “Quidditch,” the group members’ activity has paled in comparison to their 2013 predecessors, whose threads included gems like “Kill, F**k, or Marry.” It was the 2013 group that experienced the whole Tasheka-Latoya LaDonna Veronica Jackson debacle, in which the supposed Scripps 2013 student typed posts with such ridiculous spelling that another student felt the need to translate for everyone else. At this time, her existence outside the world of Facebook can neither be confirmed nor denied.
Will Pitkin PO ’13 felt that the 2014 group was barely tolerable for stalking. “Let’s step it up, eh?” he said. “This is pathetic. Someone needs to get in a Facebook fight with someone else.” He went on to give them a “gentle push in the right direction” by encouraging them to confess the most “illegal thing [they’ve] ever done.” Unfortunately, the responses were lackluster at best. Hopefully, we will see significant improvement in the group’s entertainment value as the regular decision kids start to trickle in.
Although some might argue that the freshmen of 2013 were almost too active on Facebook in the months preceding their arrival, observing the group can teach some valuable lessons. First and foremost, it’s easy to make a bad impression. There is no need to assert your intelligence because, frankly, nobody cares. And, until there is some kind of established protocol for adding future classmates/strangers as Facebook friends, it’s going to be awkward when you finally do encounter your new buddies in August. If any 2014-ers out there happen to read this, take note. Otherwise, just like the promiscuous prospies who manage to make a name for themselves by hooking up with multiple people in one night, your reputation could be in danger long before move-in day.
*The names in this article have been changed.