College Memes Unite the 5Cs

Students at the Claremont Colleges do not always go on Facebook, but when they do, many enjoy checking out 5C “memes.” 

Facebook pages “Pomona Memes”
and “5C Memes,” which host the localized version of the current Internet
phenomenon, were generated in early February by Matt Karkut PO ’14. Karkut, who
is also known for his YouTube video “S–t College Freshmen Don’t Say,” created
the pages after hearing that a friend made a similar page at Stanford

“I made the
Pomona memes page specifically for Pomona students, but I also wanted to create
an outlet for the ideas of everyone else at the 5Cs and give them a place to
share their own school-specific memes,” Karkut said.

posted 20 memes to start up “5C Memes,” and the page quickly accumulated
fans as students from all five colleges created their own memes. Currently, “5C
Memes” has nearly 1,700 likes. “Pomona Memes” has almost 700.

Merriam-Webster defines a meme as “an
idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a
culture.” Internet memes reflect the interests and behavior patterns of
Generation Y. Recently, the trend has grown immensely popular, rising out of
comparative Internet obscurity to reach college campuses and reflect qualities
specific to different student bodies. The 5Cs are no exception.

Popular Internet memes include
“Socially Awkward Penguin,” “First World Problems,” “Success Kid” and countless
others. The memes maintain similar wording, but each meme has a unique premise
indicated by both the name and the picture. Many are related to college
students, which may be why the trend recently became college-specific.

The “College Freshman” meme
features a smiling male student on a stereotypical college campus. His captions
demonstrate the naiveté of a new kid at college, reflecting his poor
knowledge of the school’s workings and lack of savvy. A popular College
Freshman meme reads, “25 cent Ramen… $5 Starbucks Coffee.”

School-specific memes are
especially fun to browse because they promote commonalities for 5C students to appreciate together. With “5C
Memes,” people from across the colleges can connect over a joke.

“Pomona Memes,” as the title
implies, is Pomona-focused and refers to subjects like buildings on campus or
required classes. For example, one “Hipster Kitty” meme says, “Lived in Pomona Hall… When it
was B Hall.” They provide the same entertainment as 5C memes, but are more
exclusive in nature. However, many Pomona memes that get positive reception on
the Facebook page end up being posted on “5C Memes” as well.

The memes also poke fun at hot issues around the campuses. One 5C meme featuring a photo of Jimmy McMillan, founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, reads, “Those CMC test
scores… are too damn high!”

According to Ellie Rudee SC ’14, memes
are representative of an inclination to seek out the instant gratification of bite-sized humor
on the Internet.

“Memes are visually appealing because there’s
little text and because there are stereotyped memes, we know what kind of humor
to expect in less than a second. They are easy to make and share, so it’s
perfect for it to catch on,” said Rudee, who has posted numerous times on “5C

“College-themed memes are preferred for students because we can relate to them in a way
that it’s like an inside joke within our college student culture,” Rudee added.

Karkut alluded to boredom as the possible source of the popularity of college-specific memes.

“People choose to spend lots of time on the Internet
because of their desire for constant stimulus and entertainment and lack of
self-control,” Karkut said.

reflected that people used to be more content doing nothing, while we now have
to constantly be doing or looking at something, even during our downtime. What might have been
time simply to sit and think or people-watch, he noted, has turned into an obsession with memes and similarly accessible Internet trends.

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