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At Northwestern, like at many universities, we live and breathe technology. Much of our coursework is online, we communicate with professors via email, we check assignments online, and we even post to social media platforms for class discussions. Outside of the classroom, we organize student group events over Facebook and keep up with the latest news on our Twitter feeds. Our Career Services Department tells us to get LinkedIn accounts to be part of the modern networking force.

For us, this mass technology use is second nature. But of course, college hasn’t always been this way. In terms of technology, there is so much that sets our college experience far apart from our parents’.  We make fun of our parents when they send awkward texts or sign their “love mom” posts on Facebook, but when they were our age, having your own landline was just about as cool as having the latest iPhone. Check out these four college situations which technology has completed changed from our parents generation to ours:

1. Finding a Roommate

RoommatePhoto Via Someecards

Finding a roommate is becoming more and more like a dating service. Northwestern and many other schools offer services such as Room Sync  to match you with your “perfect roommate” via your Facebook profile. Once assigned a roommate, most of us go right to Facebook. We scroll through picture after picture, trying to form an opinion of someone we’ve never met. With endless possibilities for communication, it’s possible to become “friends” with your roommate before even meeting them, s a concept totally foreign to our parents. My mom said she spoke with her college roommate one time on the phone before going to college to decide who would buy a refrigerator.

Imagine a campus when no one knew their roommates until the first day? How would we instgram #roomies #loveher pictures by the second day of school???

2. Research

paperGIF via Tumblr

With online databases, eBooks, and a multitude of informational websites, it’s possible to write a research paper in college without ever checking out a book from the library. For our parents, writing research papers meant looking through large research books, encyclopedias, and textbooks. And oh yeah, there was no nice computer system to type in what information you want and exactly where the book is that has it.

If we had to write research papers like this now, I’m pretty sure we would clean out all of Starbucks.

 3. Class

compPhoto via Huffington Post

Smart boards, projectors, and question clickers have helped to make the classroom more interactive. We even get to use our laptops in many classes- which we all know often leads to ample time spent on Facebook and BuzzFeed. Now, when we see a classroom with a chalkboard, we struggle to connect to the lesson. But to our parents, straight lectures on a chalkboard were commonplace in class. Doodling or staring off into space were the only distraction options they had.

It’s sad but it’s hard to imagine now how we would make it through those hour-twenty minute classes without just one quick peak onto Facebook. What new ways could we find to distract ourselves?

 4. Staying in Touch


“When I Skype my grandparents”

Photo Via Imgur

With Facebook, Skype, texting, emailing, other forms of social media there are endless ways to stay connected with the community we left back at home. When our parents went to college, writing letters or landline phone calls were the only options. According to the LA Times,  research suggests that college students today are closer with their families and high school friends due to the capabilities of technology, but this also may be suffocating as a new student.

But if we couldn’t keep up with every little detail of our high school counterparts’ lives on Facebook how would we get so many likes on our profile pictures?

How is your college experience different than your parents’?

feature Photo Via WiredAcademic