Thousands of college freshmen leave home this month, and their Facebook walls are on fire. Within hours, they are changing their current cities of residence: Villanova. New Orleans. Dallas. Berkeley.
Mobile photos are uploaded, changes to their profiles made. No longer are they high school kids. They are now college students, waving their collegiate banners and colors high.
One student's dorm wall proudly showcases a picture of Jim Morrison amid a pink background. I jokingly post on her wall that she should make a college job out of this — advertising her interior decorating skills to other college freshmen.
Some college freshmen are already getting a real taste of the weather in their college environs. A Tulane freshman writes: "So, so happy and relieved to be here. It's way too humid, and the air feels like a pool at this point, but I have a feeling the next five years will be good."
A Villanova water polo player declares, within hours of arriving: "Pouring rain in summer? I need to get used to this East Coast weather."
They are wowed by orientation events to get them connected quickly.
"Heat lightning; purple skies; party in the gym with bread pudding, grilled oysters, Zappo's chips, and red beans and rice ... I love this school," another college freshman writes.
They meet new friends in the dorms and are learning how to venture into new territory.
"Hi, so you're sitting in my room and we just discovered we're pretty much the same person♥ love ittttt! Let's go out tomorrow night." Their "friend "count on Facebook goes through the roof within days.
They post their freshman schedules. "MWF I have class from 9:30-2:20 with a 50 min lunch break and then TTH I have class from 10-11:15 so not that bad:) and all my professors were really nice."
"Intro to Architecture might just be the best class I've ever had" followed by the next day's post of "Just got my first official architecture studio assignment, and wow, am I confused, excited, nervous, befuddled, and apprehensive! And I have a two-day deadline!" A SoCal student, now at San Francisco State, writes, "My teacher just said, 'hella'!!!" The response, "Southern California kicks Northern California's boootaaayyy."
Friends still in high school look on with eager anticipation. "Can't believe you have two classes a day, and none on Fridays. And, you get to sleep in!"
High school friends who went in different directions for college declare, "hey hun. We sure do miss you here." The response, "I just cried. No biggie." "Awww let's Skype tonight."
Friends already in college give advice: "Have fun! Don't get lost! or go into the wrong class! or drop your books everywhere! a lot could happen :) " "Get some." (obviously a reference to the opposite sex acquaintances they'll "meet").
Admittedly these students, whose posts I've shared, were clients who graciously "friended" me. I follow their first college postings through status updates with much anticipation and though I don't respond to every update, my hope is this incredible social networking technology will at least help to ward off any homesickness that almost undoubtedly strikes even the most confident student.
There are times though that I can't help but LOL at the posts. No matter what is posted, I love reading about it all. It's a reminder of the excitement, the energy and ultimately the realization that these young adults will have the most freedom and least amount of responsibility for the next four or five years of their life (studying aside).
If I could post a comment on all their pages, without invading their world, it would be: "Hey college freshman, you ain't see nothin' yet. Have the time of your life!"
LISA McLAUGHLIN is the founder and executive director of EDvantage Consulting Inc., an independent college admission counseling firm in South Orange County. Her column runs on Saturdays. Please send college admissions questions to Lisa@EDvantageConsulting.com.