How Past Mistakes Can Live On
Recently, the whole world witnessed an example of how past mistakes can come back and haunt someone later on. Along with accusations against Brett Kavanaugh for sexually assaulting Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came many questions about his behavior from his teenage years. Did he sexually assault Dr. Ford? How serious was his history of excessive drinking? Throughout this controversy and confusion, Brett Kavanaugh denied the sexual assault claims and pushed back on questions about his drinking habits. However, in his high school yearbook, he brags that he was the treasurer of the drinking club, “Keg City Club.” Despite Kavanaugh having been confirmed to the Supreme Court, he will always have a stained reputation because of the allegations by Dr. Ford and the teenage behavior recounted by friends from that time of his life. Had social media been around when Brett Kavanaugh was a teenager, things would have turned out differently for him.
In our cell phone generation, teenagers are active users of social media. They are often told anything they post on social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter will likely exist forever in the apps’ databases. Posts on
social media during youth are accessible for high schools, colleges, and employers to view. Though one could argue social media is not such a huge factor in an applicant’s process, it often is.
Over the past couple of years, an increasing amount of applicants have been rejected because content in their social media posts. According to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep conducted in April 2018, 68 percent of colleges consider profiles on Facebook and Instagram to determine whether or not applicants are admitted. Last year, Harvard University cancelled a number of admissions for incoming freshmen. These students got rejected because they were posting inappropriate and racist posts on the social media platform Facebook.
In the moment, one may not consider the consequences an act or decision may hold in the future. This is especially true of teens and young people. Many students and job applicants, like the Harvard applicants, are penalized for posting something that does not fit with decorum. When people are online, they often mistakenly feel they can speak their mind and say whatever they want without being held accountable because they can hide behind their online “screen name.” This is a common misconception by people of all ages. But posts on social media apps are always lying around in the databases so they can be retrieved. Even if someone deletes a comment or an image just an hour later, another person could have screenshotted it or shown it to their parents or friends.
Mistakes in dealing with social media feels relevant to City and Country’s XIIIs as they get ready to transition to high school. When students apply to schools, the admissions groups will evaluate them based on a number of things such as test scores, grades, extracurriculars, interviews, recommendations, and more. Some schools also look at applicant’s social media pages, checking for anything negative like vulgar language or references to racism, sexism, and other offensive behavior. One inappropriate comment or mistake could mean that an applicant gets rejected. The worst thing about mistakes on social media is that something a person did when they are younger may not be an accurate representation of who they are now, but their mistakes still live on thanks to social media.