“I thought that falling out of one's chair due to sheer excitement was something that didn't actually happen in real life…”

December 15, 2011. 4:57 p.m. Thursday afternoon, probably just hours after I’d gotten my acceptance letter to Bowdoin. The beginning.

Members of the Class of 2016, you’ll remember this. Even if you didn’t read it firsthand, you heard about it on move-in day, on your Pre-O’s, in the dining hall during the first few weeks of school. “Olivia Stone—you know, that girl from the Facebook group?” That’s me, the girl who, as soon as she was accepted to Bowdoin, started posting in the Bowdoin Class of 2016 Facebook group and just didn’t stop.

It made me kind of famous. My dear friend and roommate told me today that she recalls seeing me in the line to get breakfast the morning after we all slept in Farley asking if there were any gluten-free bagels. Recognizing me from my Facebook photos, she thought, “Of course Olivia Stone would be gluten-free.” (I’m not anymore.) Someone else apologized to my first-year roommate that she had to live with me. My fame was not all that flattering.

I remember distinctly sitting at my kitchen counter probably somewhere around 4:50 p.m. that day and deciding that college was a chance for me to be as weird as I wanted to be, as publicly as I wanted to be. I remember feeling bold and therefore cool as I typed out the above comment on Alex Roche’s post. I remember my palms sweating a little while I waited for people to reply, and when they did, being excited by the opportunity to get to know all of my future classmates.

I was helpful; I answered questions about what kind of laundry detergent we should get (high efficiency), whether twin XL sheets are necessary (not really) and what color the couches were in the first year bricks. (I had already asked around—they’re all different colors.) I asked about under-bed storage and clarified the difference between “Carolina blue” and just regular blue. In case you are wondering, there is a Wikipedia page for Carolina blue.

“Hate to be that kid, but anyone NOT follow sports here?” I typed, thinking that was funny and hip. I reposted the KONY 2012 video in an attempt to reveal how informed and socially conscious I was. Yeah, that’s cringe-worthy, I know. Almost as bad as when I posted the legendary photo of my friend Arvind (he doesn’t go here) and I at senior prom, our hands awkwardly twisted into B’s with the caption “Bowdoin goes to prom!”

I had no idea that my overeager Facebook presence would label me as Facebook girl for the Class of 2016. I found out during orientation when, between bouts of diarrhea from some virus I picked up hiking (or maybe just pre-first-day-of-school nervousness, let’s be real), I introduced myself to my classmates and discovered that they already knew exactly who I was.
I was mortified. To be honest, I am still kind of mortified when I think about it. In a lot of ways, it has shaped how I use social media now—I almost never make posts anymore, have purged many people from my friends lists and sometimes deactivate my Facebook account. I go back and forth on whether I should make a comeback post in the 2016 group before graduation (now accepting suggestions), but as a general rule, I have stayed far, far away from that thing.

Despite the lingering embarrassment and my not-ideal first impressions, though, Bowdoin has turned out to be more or less exactly the welcoming community I hoped it would be. I feel comfortable being just as weird as I want to be, and luckily, this has morphed into a different kind of weird than the one I put forth on the Internet before arriving at college. It’s a kind of weird I feel a lot more comfortable with than the one who giggled as she commented “labyrinth with david bowie” on the post “Describe your sex life in a movie title.” I can assure you, that was not true, nor was it really that funny.

The Bowdoin Class of 2016 page remains an archive of how I’ve matured, as I bet this Talk of the Quad will serve me years from now when I feel nostalgic about the old couch in the well-loved apartment where I wrote it. Now, I cheesily thank the Class of 2016 for helping a Facebook girl figure herself out. To quote my December 15, 2011 self again, “By the way, congrats to everyone, we have all worked really hard to get here. we did it!!!!”

P.S. The comment “FIRST OLIVIA STONE POST!!!” on that original post, made a year and a half later, got 50 likes. 

Olivia Stone is a member of the class of 2016.