Freshmen Bob Lallky and Valarie Varanese started talking in late March, about five months before the start of school, on the Class of 2019 Facebook page. The couple began their relationship before coming to campus in the fall to meet in person.
They were introduced to each other when Varanese’s roommate saw Lallky’s “About Me” bio and noticed the two had similar interests.
“We just kind of hit it off,” Lallky said.
Lallky said when it came to meeting Varanese in person, he was “definitely a lot more comfortable with the other person. It’s less awkward. You know each other so well, it was so easy to be with each other.”
“It’s not like you’re talking to each other on the basic level,” added Varanese, as many freshmen default to asking other new students what their major is in order to try to get to know them.
While Lallky and Varanese may be an exception, many students joined the Facebook group in order to get to know more about Knox and about the other members of the freshman class.
Not only did the Facebook group promote camaraderie for the incoming class, but it also helped some students who had never even been to the United States before. Freshman Akashi Perera, who is from Sri Lanka, decided that she wanted to go to a small liberal arts college after talking to her school’s counselor.
“My counselor gave me some options, and when I looked into Knox I instantaneously liked it because of the website. It was very big and bold and it stuck in my mind.”
Perera said the Facebook page helped her figure out what to bring and what her classmates would be like, and she realized that she could relate to many international students. She said did she not speak with many people besides her roommate and RA over Facebook, but felt welcomed by the people in the group.
“I thought it was nice that people were so open to adding me on Facebook. I would add anyone who had mutual friends and were a part of the Facebook group,” she said.
Freshman and Californian Duncan Wheeler frequently used social media apps like Facebook and Quad to contact his future classmates earlier in the year. He was active on the Facebook page, and even helped put together a southern California meetup.
“I definitely met people but those friendships did not really carry over in person. People are different in person than they are online, for sure. You meet people who you actually have more in common with.”
Before arriving at Knox, he looked forward to the small atmosphere.
“You see familiar faces everywhere. And, for the most part people are pretty nice,” he said.
Freshman athlete Rebecca Higgins anticipated Knox as “a very tight knit community.”
Her extra two weeks of bonding with the cross country team helped her adjust to her new college life, even though she had not interacted with other students on social media.
“Everyone on the team is incredibly supportive and I would not have had this opportunity at any other school,” Higgins said.