Maximillian, 18


Ironic. Probably the last term that I would have thought to use as a description for the summer leading into my freshman year of college, and yet here we are. Gen Z, as my age group is called, is a generation known for a multitude of new peculiar practices, one of the most popular being social media. Every sane parent has warned their kids about the dangers of social media, how it can detach someone from the “real world” and their “real friends”. 

Here is where we reach the irony in the situation. The world has been forced to recognize the very thing that threatened interpersonal connection itself as the only form of “safe communication”. In our current crisis, the standards of what is considered a “normal” way of communicating has changed. Not only is it now “normal” to be in front of a computer to talk to friends all day, as before it was taboo. So has this in any way changed the manner in which I will enter college? Yes, and here's why. 

At the beginning of the global pandemic, I was extremely scared of losing connection with the friends I became close to over my four years in high school. But a thought quickly surfaced, this might have been the best thing to happen to me. I was aware that everyone loses friends after high school. People who you will sit and chat with provided the opportunity, but nobody you wish to maintain any real connection with. By separating from our class, I realized who was important to me and who was going to remain in my life. 

Not only did I decide to form stronger relationships with particular friends, but I began to form new connections with future classmates. A group called “Zoom Gang”, is a collection of Cornell 2024 students from across the schools that decided to hop on a Zoom call together and just become friends. These are now some of my closest friends to date, bonds strengthened through joint struggle, despite not even having met some of them in person at all. If the world had not come to a metaphorical stop, I may have never been a part of a group that I felt so welcomed into. In a way, it is not too hard for me to find a reason why I am at peace with the state of the world. It’s ironic that during a global event that we are all supposed to be socially-distanced, that I have never felt so close to so many people. 

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