Conversations with Karla: Using social media to your advantage 

Social media has become an everyday part of the lives of everyone across the country. Today, read about Karla’s conversation with third-semester student Bridget Quiroga on the effects of social media on college life and self-esteem. Photo by dole777 on Unsplash.

Welcome back to Conversations with Karla! In case you missed it, last week we went over the effect social media can have on your spending habits. This week, you will look at a conversation I had with Bridget Quiroga, a third-semester political science and human rights major and Spanish minor, going over the effect social media has on all aspects of student life.

Quiroga started our conversation by bringing us back to our senior year of high school, specifically college application season. She talked about how her school — like many high schools across the country — began a social media account for her senior class to showcase who was going where for college. She noted how this added more pressure to the already stressful time of year.  

“I want to go here, but what is everyone else going to think about that,” was the topic of conversation for Quiroga and her friends.  

We also talked about another trend that circulated on TikTok specifically. Occurring most often during and right after the pandemic, many users would post videos showing a list of colleges they applied to as well as all their stats. When decision letters were distributed, these same users would make a duet with their videos highlighting which schools from that original list they got into.  

Quiroga expressed how seeing these videos added a sense of self-doubt when she would see someone on the internet with stats similar to her own get into a school that she didn’t. “I would think, ‘Okay, I have all of these things too, but I didn’t get into that school so what’s wrong with me?’” she said. She also made a point that this situation can result in “a toxic relationship with someone you don’t even know” as she put it; because it creates a sense of competition that would have otherwise never existed.  

However, the conversation did not only focus on the negative aspects, as Quiroga explained she has a lot to accredit to social media for her college experience thus far. As an out-of-state student, Quiroga didn’t have many easily accessible resources to gather information about the University of Connecticut, so she sought out this information through social media.  

“I made so many connections online and found out about how to get involved in the school through social media,”

Bridget Quiroga, third-semester political science and human rights major.

“I made so many connections online and found out about how to get involved in the school through social media,” she said. Quiroga is also a member of the UConn Dance Company, which is an organization she says she wouldn’t have found if it weren’t for social media.  

Quiroga further elaborated on the point that out-of-staters do not have much access to information about UConn student life. She combated this dilemma by using the “UConn” tagline to find videos that would give her insight into this topic. She would scour the internet for “day in the life” videos or other vlogs from students who were already enrolled to help her picture herself at UConn. “I know I did that for a bunch of schools, but I specifically remember doing it a lot for UConn. That was one of the ways I actually fell in love with the school,” she said.  

I went on to ask Quiroga how she was able to ignore other people’s opinions and make the college application experience her own. She explained that she sought out advice from someone she already knew and trusted, and how that conversation played a huge factor in her decision to come to UConn. Rather than solely relying on the experience of strangers, she was able to find a mentor to help with the decision-making process. “It’s a matter of realizing that everyone is on their own path in life, and it’s not productive to compare yourself to strangers. Over time I realized ‘This is what’s happening for me and that’s alright,’” she said.  

That’s all for this week’s Conversations with Karla! Remember that you’re loved. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you again when we return!  

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