How Social Media is Changing the Way We Graduate

By Megan McMahon So it’s that time of the year when everyone knows someone that’s graduating. Whether it’s high school, college, or even kindergarten, May and June are months filled with throwing caps in the air and setting out on brand new paths in life. And as if graduating itself wasn’t cool enough, social media has made it even cooler. Here’s why:

It’s connecting freshmen college students, before they even step foot on their campus… The inspiration for this blog post came indirectly from my younger brother who will be graduating from high school next week and, come this Fall, attending college in Boston at Suffolk University. I couldn’t help but realize one day a few weeks ago when my News Feed notified me that he recently became friends with about 20 people. I was awfully confused until I realized that he had just joined the Suffolk University class of 2015 group on Facebook.

Even though a Facebook friend doesn’t necessarily mean a true friendship in real life, there are 20 people that my brother will already have a connection with on move-in day at Suffolk. Pretty different than finding out what your roommates are like by “talking” to them huh?

It's giving you that blast from the past... Speaking of the old days and having to talk to your roommates to get to know them instead of scrolling through their “likes” on Facebook…you didn’t have to graduate this year or even 5 years ago or even 25 years ago to have social media effect the way you’ve graduated. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been friend requested by kids I graduated from Junior High with and was immediately flung into a slew of nostalgia. Even our parents are going through this. Social media is the new way to keep up with people from your past.

It’s providing opportunities… Jobs and internships IN social media are popping up everywhere you turn and finding jobs and internships ON social media networks has become easier than ever. The world is slowly catching on to the phenomenon that is social media and opportunities for recent grads are everywhere. The best part is…there are so many components to social media that it can apply to various majors and degrees. If you’re not into the whole job in social media thing and want to become a chef, nurse, hairdresser, or whatever else your heart desires…social media is great place to turn for marketing yourself AND searching for job openings.

It’s preventing us from graduating? A few weeks ago, I read an article on a student from a small college in North Carolina that was banned from walking at his graduation due to…a Tweet. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, if you’re not careful about what you say regarding your alma maters via social networking sites (no matter how close you are to graduating) you’re apparently putting yourself at risk for not being able to attend graduation ceremonies.

It’s helping us be at graduation, without physically BEING at  graduation… When it comes down to it, we all know how boring those commencement ceremonies can actually be. But 2011’s graduates have taken the boredom into their own hands and have turned their graduations into giant live tweet ups. The number of graduation tweets I saw this past weekend from the St. John’s Class of 2011 was a tad bit overwhelming and made me a little nostalgic but was pretty entertaining at the same time. Below you will find a stream of tweets from a graduate of STJ this past weekend…a perfect example of “making the most” of the ceremony:

Congratulations to the Class of 2011 around the world and may the road ahead of you be likeable!

Are you a recent graduate that’s been affected in a unique way by social media? Did you graduate years ago and now use social media to stay connected with your past? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Special thanks to my brother McWham and now fellow STJ Alum, @LaneHutch for being my indirect inspiration for this blog! Congrats on graduating and best of luck to both of you!