Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Facebook Freshman

In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg created a little project in his dorm room that would later be known as Facebook. In 2004 I was preparing to enter my final year of high school. Writing a song about The Scarlet Letter was probably my most notable project in 2004, but sadly no one is listening to my Hester song on their iPhone. In the beginning of 2005, MySpace was losing its ability to be the only cool website you went to to upload your first real selfie and hang out with your internet friends you met once at a garage band concert. I counted down the days until my official college e-mail was created so I could join Facebook and cyber-mingle with the college-bound kids.

I wanted to meet all the people.

I quickly joined the official Augustana College Class of '09 Facebook Group and began sending and accepting friend requests. Everyone was eager to make new friends and I wanted to know everyone before I stepped foot on that campus. Facebook allowed me to become an internet stalker before it was creepy and addicting and, well, normal.

Facebook helped me make that nervous journey to the first day of college.

Oh, L.

My first day of college wasn't until September so I made good use of the entire month of August to meet up with many of my new Facebook Friends. I met L in the '09 group. I found out she lived about 45 minutes away from me and we began chatting it up on AIM. Facebook chat had not been invented yet. We agreed to meet up for lunch and shop at Target. (Some things will never change.) We were instantly real-life friends and relieved that the other wasn't a complete weirdo. We later found out that we would live in the same dorm and be 1 floor apart.

My 18-year-old self was certain that arriving on campus as a single person would be the dumbest idea in the world. J and I talked almost daily and agreed to meet up before school started. He was cute, funny, and really smart. He was a huge goof-ball and a total band nerd. I thought we were perfect together. Unfortunately, he met up with a different girl before school started and snagged her as his girlfriend.

With J out of the picture, I quickly moved on to J the Second. J2 was on AIM alert. My computer would ring whenever he logged on. Facebook enabled us to share only the best pictures of ourselves and I thought he was cute, funny, and athletic. We agreed to meet on campus a few weeks before school started. I wanted to buy my books and he said he needed a few things as well. He pulled up in a truck and I was happy to see that he looked just like his picture. Then, he hopped out of that truck and I realized that profile pictures lack the ability to confirm height.

Ah, remember those lovely wall posts? A and I were only about 25min away from each other so of course I was going to drive to her house and meet her. According to my LiveJournal it was my first "dude someone rolled their truck in a ditch and we have to all leave now because the cops are probably coming but we aren't really sure so let's just all leave anyway because we are in the middle of nowhere" party.

My freshman roommate was a bit shy and left no communication trail on my wall. I tracked her down on Facebook and found out she lived about 40min away. I drove to her home and met her family. We then ate Panera and talked about how we were excited to be on the track team together. We worked out who would bring the microwave, the fridge and the futon. We were pumped that we would not have a television.

Lessons learned: 

L ended up dating my high school crush and crushing me in the process. (He was a year older than us and was already attending the college when we arrived.) I had told her everything about him during that summer and I'm pretty sure she used this secret intel to snag him.

J and I became good college friends. We never dated because I ended up with a boyfriend the first weekend of college. He's the only one on this list who is actually still my Facebook friend. He's a doctor and happily married to one. He's still a total nerd.

J2 was one of the nicest guys, but shallow 18-year-old me could not handle dating someone who was shorter than me. We stayed in touch throughout college, but quickly drifted apart.

A and I lost touch. We hung out a bit in college, mainly subway lunches and floor gatherings since we lived on the same floor.

My roommate and I did not kill each other. She was studious and I was never in our room. I would call that a success.

Facebook made my move-in experience easy. I had several internet classmates and it made arriving on campus so much fun. I wasn't nervous to meet new people. I was excited to finally meet all of the other people I had chatted with. Not everyone is as open as they once were on the internet and Facebook is no longer limited to just college kids, but don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

If you make a fool out of yourself, no one will remember. Well, unless you're friends with me...

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