Read the full article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/sep/30/students.facebook
Anthony Cugliari shouts to Aradhna Jaswar above the raging dance beat at Birmingham University’s freshers’ fair. “Hey, we’re Facebook friends. It’s Aradhna, right?” “Yeah. Hi,” she says, eagerly extending the hand that’s not clutching her new posters and freebies.
Cugliari, 33, from Canada, and Jaswar, 18, from Wolverhampton, arrived in Birmingham less than a week ago. But they’ve been Facebook friends for three months – first spotting each other on the social networking site’s group for Birmingham University law freshers.
Both joined Facebook specifically to help themselves settle into university life. Cugliari had made 189 Facebook friends at Birmingham before he’d arrived. “I’m already going to the pub with 10 friends as a result,” he says. Jaswar says it has calmed her nerves to have had a bit of banter with students on her course before lectures start.
Charlotte Wright, 20 and about to start a maths degree at the University of Leicester, has joined two Facebook groups, one for her course and another for her hall of residence.
“I’m not so worried about being completely alone in a new city any more,” she says. “It’s been really reassuring to find out that everyone else is also suffering from that awkward mixture of nerves and excitement. Befriending people who’ve already done the first year of my course has yielded lots of useful advice.”