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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Opinion

Students try to keep their weekends off the web


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David Delgado/The Daily Cougar

The most daunting task for a UH senior about to enter the workforce is finding a well-paying job during this difficult economic period.

The University’s students pride themselves on working hard in their undergraduate careers but often playing harder on the sidelines.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to log in to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts and see an array of friends partying it up on the weekends with alcoholic drinks in their hands.

It’s hard to imagine that this accessibility in the social media-driven age could result in never landing your dream job.

The New York Times recently published an article by Natasha Singer called “They loved your GPA, then they saw your tweets,” discussing the rising occurrence of high school students’ denied admission into their university of choice because of the admission staff searching through their social media accounts.

The article commented on a high school senior who attended an information session for a university and tweeted negative things while in attendance.

The admissions staff took note of it right away and denied her entry into the university as a student.

“It was incredibly unusual and foolish of her to do that,” said Bowdoin College Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott A. Meiklejohn.

The college ultimately denied the student admission, he said, because her academic record wasn’t competitive.

“But had her credentials been better, those indiscreet posts could have scuttled her chances,” according to Singer’s article.

Although this doesn’t apply to us any more, in a way, the potential harm that social media can do could jeopardize UH students entering the work force or applying to graduate school programs.

Social media has been described as a way to build a personal brand around yourself. In the November issue of Elle, Alice Marwick, the writer of “Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age,” was interviewed regarding the pros and cons of this new technological age.

Marwick said “the Internet has amplified (the judgment of our appearance) because it allows for a broader audience. … It’s important to distinguish images for a professional context rather than posting thousands of ‘selfies’ with cleavage and bikinis. You should be able to do that, but if you do, you’re going to be taken less seriously.”

When we apply for jobs or graduate school, it’s important to clean up your images and content, make your accounts private or simply delete those crazy nights where you’re holding two liquor shots in your hands.

You are creating a personal brand around your image, and if a prospective employer reads an angry tweet about a professor, he might think you have a problem with authority.

Not all students agree, however.

Computer science junior Jarrett Hill believes that the two lives should be kept separate and that no prospective employer should judge someone completely based on one small snippet of social media commentary.

“I think it’s dumb for a company to read a snippet of a tweet, and it might be judged out of context,” Hill said. “They don’t and shouldn’t know about my life.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the opinion most hiring staff members share.

Opinion columnist Catalina Campos is an English literature senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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