Online introductions ease first-year transition

By Emmy Liederman
Features Editor 

Welcome Week at the College usually consists of settling into the dorms, attending icebreaker activities and scoping out the best spots on campus to eat, study or simply spend time with friends. For many students, it is also an opportunity to meet people they connected with on social media in the flesh. Before social media, people used to walk into freshman year blind. But now, platforms like Facebook and GroupMe help students meet people in their class before arriving on campus.

Freshmen no longer have to wait to move in to make friends. (Instagram)

“TCNJ Class of 2022” is a Facebook page created for incoming freshmen to communicate and learn more about what the College has to offer before move-in day. It has become a platform for students to introduce themselves in the hopes of finding a compatible roommate, buy discounted textbooks from upperclassmen and gather information about extracurricular activities on campus.

“I find the Facebook group very helpful because it gave us an opportunity to hear about some of the clubs we can get involved in when we move in,” said freshman early childhood education major Heather Collins.

Although its main purpose is for incoming students to introduce themselves to each other, this process can become a bit monotonous, according to freshman communication studies major Madison Pena.

“The Facebook group is helpful in terms of having questions answered by upperclassmen,” Pena said. “That being said, there are also times where it felt like it was just the generic ‘My name is (blank) and I like working out and watching Netflix.’”

While some students feel the introductions on Facebook might be lacking in sincerity, many agree that this is made up for by the more intimate group chats that follow.

“I found my roommate through GroupMe,” Collins said. “I chose (her) because we had the same opinions on a lot of things and talking with my roommate was very easy. We communicate almost every day. The group chats give us the chance to see the people who we may connect with and want to get to know more.”

Although commuter students do not have to stress over finding a roommate, many are thankful that social media has allowed them to form a group of friends before coming to campus.

“I’m commuting to TCNJ so I did not get a roommate, but I have made friends throughout these past few months,” said freshman computer science major Kenneth Arias. “A lot of different things are talked about in our group chats, ranging from class schedules or questions to just general random conversation and personally, I have gotten to know several people thanks to this.”

Pena, who is also commuting to the College, finds the more specified group chats, such as a chat for commuters, to be the most beneficial.

“The conversations happening are much more specific to my personal situation and interests,” she said. “I can honestly say that I’ve gotten to know a small group of people pretty well. I think it’s important to get to know people who are in a similar situation as you because you can help answer each other’s questions and work through it together.”