Just a disclaimer before anyone reads this. This article is not about how I judge, criticize, or hate people who do the following things. Everyone is entitled to do whatever they want.
This idea for this article became a question I asked myself when I started comparing my Instagram and other social media outlets to my friends from high school. Which, as it truthfully seems, is not an accurate way to distinguish everyone's different college experiences.
Also, this article does not mean to call out or hate people who party in college....so, nearly everyone; it's normal, it happens, and I, out of all people, truthfully acknowledge that part of life as a college student and do not mean to be hypocritical in any way throughout this article.
The life of a college student is difficult as it is: living hundreds of miles away from home, making new friends, adjusting to a schedule, and managing your time. However, what makes all this stress worse is the inaccurate portrayal of how someone is adjusting to their college campus through the lens of their social media, or the act of "thriving."
Every weekend, my Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets become overwhelmed with pictures of my friends from high school in their new college. And while each of them most definitely have unique stories and experiences to tell when we reunite, all of their different yet similar posts seem to do more than represent a picture; most of the time, these posts seek to prove that yes, they are having fun in college because they are partying, have found their ride-or-die squad, and are seemingly having a fantastic time.
For some people, that may be the case. I am not writing this article because I am criticizing or jealous of my high school friends who seem to be enjoying their new home...as they should. Rather, I am writing because I wonder if there is a hidden angle, another story, which says more than a double tap. Frankly, I am wondering if their experiences are fake or not. And if they are fake, why do they take pride in living a fake life?
Here's one example: During the weekends of early September, nearly every single girl I went to high school with posted a picture with a small group of girls, most likely at their first college party, in their dorms or hallways dressed and ready to go out, or in front of a tapestry and holiday lights which seem to be the most "Instagram-worthy" spot.
All the captions referred to these girls as their "new friends" or contained a common pun about fraternities. I wondered to myself, "These girls don't even know each other...they've only been at school for less than two weeks. Are they actually friends or are they just using each other on their social media to prove to their friends back home that college has changed them?" But even worse, why did all the comments on posts like this have the word "thriving". What does it mean to thrive in college?
To some, to "thrive" is to spend nearly all your Thursday-Saturday nights, or at some universities, this is every night, out partying with people you don't know in an unfamiliar area. To others, college is about building relationships with other people....and maybe, finding out who your true friends are instead of pretending to get more likes on an Instagram post.