“Jess I Can” applies to college


I recognize that some people feel the need to chronicle their, sometimes, illicit activities on social media sites and I am not pointing fingers. All the power to them. Some people, for example, may like to indulge in a little bit of Cannabis on a Wednesday afternoon, you know just because. Other people may enjoy drinking out of red solo cups in a poorly-lit, unfinished basement on a fine Friday evening. Good for these people. I applaud their commitment to honesty and brazen decision to document their fun-filled life in a genuine, uninhibited light. It takes a lot of courage to let their facebook friends–and the rest of the world–know: “Hey, this is who I really am and I am not gonna lie about it.”

These people who indelibly stain their Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds with potentially incriminating images and text blurbs are the true Internet heroes. If you really consider 4/20 a holiday worth celebrating than hey, smoke a bowl and sing it from the rooftops. Let everybody in your tight-knit virtual circle know. Wave that green-leafy flag high and proud–and do not forget to post a celebratory status, or ten.

After all, what is the point of social media if you are going to create a fallacious image of yourself?

Sadly, though, my staunch admiration for these brave social media figures usually dissipates come college application time. With a few swift clicks and a surge of stupendous creativity these people (who apply to college) begin to cower in the corner, hidden under a virtual veil of disingenuity.

You are not fooling anyone, Jessica Nore. Your name is not Jess I Can. Your name is still Jessica Nore and you went to a rave last weekend and got absolutely trashed. I know this only because you meticulously documented that night with a multitude of progressively incoherent tweets and a Facebook album consisting of 310 pictures, titled: “S@ w0rth the hang0ver $eni0rs YoLO.”

Okay… so maybe you are fooling the fine admissions officers at Iowa State and Boulder University. Their Internet snooping and probing is no match for your supremely masterful illusiveness. As far as they know, you are still just that sweet Jessica who overcame her fear of butterflies to bravely open up a local butterfly rescue and rehabilitation reservation. But come on, Jess I Can… what is the point?

Aside from the pretty much obligatory social convention, it really does not make any sense to change your Facebook name come college application time. Let’s break it down. On the surface, people like Jessica Nore tentatively adopt a social media pseudonym to hide their unscrupulous activities from prospective colleges. I get that aspect. I really do. Nothing sours your chances of admission more than a picture of you holding a can of cheap beer bought for you by that old-ish guy who still wears his varsity jacket. Colleges just do not like those pictures–and in all your infinite wisdom, you recognize that. But beyond the obvious surface reasons, does it make any sense?

No, absolutely not. You should not be carrying around the burden of these pictures and virtual history as you progress in life. Hopefully, you will go to college to pursue a career–or something resembling a career. In that process, you will inevitably encounter professional individuals who can help you accomplish some of your lofty goals. You will also start to, um, like, network. These people do not want to see your messy high school shenanigans blatantly plastered online. Nobody really does.

So, instead of simply changing your social media name pending that acceptance letter you should just take the leap and purge your online history of anything that could be potentially damaging or embarrassing in your new and exciting “adult life.” Wipe your messy past clean from the deep, dark clutches of social media. Go ahead, create a new, clean image for yourself.

Do not get me wrong though, I am not suggesting that you have to alter your lifestyle. I could care less about that. By all means, continue testing the physiological limits of your liver and carpe diem because apparently you only live once. But, do not post pictures of yourself gloriously living that one life online, under your real name. Exercise some of that remote sense I know you have; create an incognito Instagram or blog under the clever pseudonym of Jess I Can if you still feel the need to prove that you are and always will be a weekend-warrior. Because trust me, Jess You Most Certainly Cannot if you continue on your noble path of oh-so-publicly depicting your life honestly through social media.