Acceptance Statuses: Posting or Boasting?

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Caroline Cook, News Editor

Imagine yourself excitedly scurrying down to the mailbox; anxious to receive college-related news. It is the spring of your senior year, and you’ve been dying to hear back from the coveted universities that you applied to. You open the mailbox and spot large envelopes with “Congratulations!” printed on the outside. Overcome with joy and pride, you log onto Facebook, typing furiously in a Zuckerberg-like fashion. As planned, the post spreads like wildfire, and now all of your peers are informed that you’ve joined the ranks of the elite.

However, while you continue to bask in your glory, other students who were either rejected from the same schools or their own top choices, may feel inferior when your post pops up in their News Feeds. Although we all enjoy the freedom to express our happiness and pride with regards to our accomplishments, broadcasting college acceptances on Facebook demonstrates a failure to consider the effect such posts may have on other students.

Does posting a college acceptance track record constitute boasting, or is it done to obtain peer acceptance based upon academic achievement? Throughout our lives we’ve all encountered people who constantly one-up their peers by trumpeting their various accolades to the masses. Perhaps some who fit this description also spend great amounts of time worrying about what others think of them. By posting their choices they may hope to gain their peers’ approval.

In their defense, many would argue that Facebook is merely a vehicle used to update the world with each greasy new installment of everyday life. In addition, they may argue that people are entitled to post anything they desire as long as it is true. Yet in a town where academic status rivals socio-economic standing, such posts adopt a significantly more nefarious undertone than simply a benign update.

A signature element of our community’s pressure-cooker environment is the way in which the slime of elitism infiltrates the grooves of conversation outside of the digital world. A side-effect from reading popular online forums such as College Confidential is the slime that infects student discourse with increasing academic pressure, anxiety and further chest-beating. If so much face-to-face and digital dialogue time is consumed by broadcasting, or fretting about one’s elite stature, why torture ourselves by providing a third forum for College Confidential neurotics on Facebook?

Commonly spotted college acceptance-related Facebook posts fall under two categories; the Summary and the Periodic Update. While the Summary’s list of acceptances may offend or bore most people who stumble upon it, at least they are subjected to the post only once. Unfortunately, those faced with the Periodic Update will be, according to the post’s name, plagued by a new post each day.

Some students may be quick to say that a person is entitled to post their acceptance if it was the “dream school” to which they worked so hard to gain admission. Yet imagine how one might feel when Periodic Updates appear in the News Feed throughout the week, announcing acceptances to dream schools 2, 3, 4, etc. Although one tone may seem more boastful than another, posters of summaries and periodically updated track records fail to acknowledge the possibility that they may offend others.

However, posting college acceptances on Facebook is neither right nor wrong. While it may be easy for viewers of such posts to label a poster’s intentions as narcissistic, insensitive, or exuberant, it is unwise for us to thoughtlessly judge them in the absence of any information about their personal motivations. After all, they may be struggling with different hardships in our pressure cooker community.