By Amanda Watson, Guest Contributor to TechAddiction
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of TechAddiction and/or Dr. Conrad.
I started using Facebook the second I started college in 2006, before I even had a chance to unpack all of the boxes in my dorm room. Back then, Facebook was still new and shiny and totally fascinating. I friended everyone I met, and I posted plenty of pictures of people I knew holding red Solo cups. I would stay up late looking at people's Facebook profiles and writing on their walls. Sometimes my Facebook habit and my extracurricular social activities got in the way of school. I didn't always turn papers in on time or do as well as I could on tests, and sometimes I skipped class to lie in bed, recover from my hangover, and check out what my friends were doing on Facebook.
The Future Looked Positive
For the most part, though, I got good grades in college. I pulled hundreds of all-nighters and devoted myself to school 100% when I needed to. I did what I needed to do and made sure my GPA stayed high enough. I had plans of getting an MBA after college and ultimately running my own business. I wasn't going to let any bad habits (online or offline) get in the way of that. I graduated from college with honors, and got into the MBA program of my dreams. Life was definitely good.
Turning to Facebook
And then it all came crashing down. I started my MBA program in Illinois, thousands of miles away from anyone I knew. I had trouble meeting new people. I missed my friends and family and spent a lot of time on Facebook. I had to balance working 30 hours a week and going to school. I didn't have much free time to meet people, and I spent most of my free time surfing the internet. My schoolwork was challenging. Pulling all-nighters didn't seem to suffice anymore. The bad study habits I'd developed in college were hard to get rid of. I often wondered if I should drop out of grad school and move back home. My parents would be so disappointed in me if I did that, though. And I would have been disappointed in myself too.
A Decision I Would Regret
I had one professor who really made my life difficult. I hadn't passed any of his tests all semester, and I was worried that I was going to flunk his class. I felt overwhelmed. So, I posted a less than nice status update about the professor and my grad school on Facebook. I thought my profile was private.
A few days later, the dean of my school contacted me and asked that I come in for a meeting. When I met with him, he said that someone had alerted the school about something I'd posted on Facebook. I was mortified.
I had a long discussion with the dean about appropriate online behavior. He suggested that I might want to take a semester off to re-group and figure out whether or not I was truly committed to the graduate business program. Needless to say, my conversation with the dean was one of the most embarrassing conversations I've ever had.
I ended up taking the dean's advice and taking a semester off. I moved back home with my parents and spent some time soul-searching. I decided not to go back to graduate school in Illinois, and I enrolled in an MBA program in my home state. I had to start over because of one silly thing I posted on Facebook in a moment of frustration.
Now I spend less time on Facebook. I'm focusing on school, being a freelance writer, and settling down with my boyfriend. Sometimes I still get the urge to waste a few hours on Facebook, though. I've deactivated my Facebook account a few times, but I always end up reactivating it. I can't imagine a life without my Facebook feed, but I'm thankful that I'm not as dependent on Facebook as I was in the past.
I just want everyone who's reading this to know that Facebook has the ability to take over your life. So, be careful. And watch what you say online. Your online profiles are never truly private. Facebook almost cost me my MBA, and I don't think anyone should have to give up their dreams just because they spend too much time on Mark Zuckerberg's site.
Guest Author Bio
An experienced writer on all things related to higher education and business, Amanda Watson spends her days covering the latest stories on various topics such as web entrepreneurship and social media marketing. You can contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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