Since I created my account in fifth grade, Facebook has served as a frequent medium for procrastination. In fact, my newsfeed only seems to interest me when I know deep down that I really should be doing something else more productive. Scrolling through trivial status updates and pictures seems especially enthralling when a difficult test looms on the horizon.
That being said, it came as a surprise when I realized that Facebook could actually help me study. Being a member of two Facebook study groups—one for AP European History and one for Honors American Literature—has helped me immensely this year. Therefore, I encourage everyone to create, join and post in Facebook study groups.
Facebook groups provide all the benefits of live study groups but are more accessible to a greater number of people. Quick questions such as due dates for assignments can be answered within a matter of seconds and verified by multiple people. Despite Conestoga’s competitive atmosphere, links to helpful study guides and flashcards are frequently posted to calm pre-test panic attacks. And of course, there are always posts intended solely for comic relief (yes, sometimes references to My Little Pony are necessary to add some levity to the stress caused by AP Euro).
My only real regret is not contributing more to the groups. Looking back, I realize the amount of material I contributed is not proportional to what I gained from my classmates’ posts.
However, although Facebook study groups can be extremely helpful, it’s important to be selective and mindful about what you post. We’ve all seen the poster in the library that outlines what constitutes cheating. Facebook groups are not places to share answers to test questions or completed homework assignments. When something will be checked or graded, do your own work, because you’ll only be cheating yourself otherwise.
Four years ago, one instance demonstrated that cheating on Facebook might still be subject to disciplinary action from the school. A Canadian college student was nearly expelled for creating a Facebook group for his chemistry class that encouraged members to post solutions to assignments that should have been completed individually. Fortunately, in my experience with Facebook groups, there haven’t been any issues with academic integrity, something I hope will continue in the future.
As we look ahead to a new school year and new classes, having a common place to post all of your questions and concerns can make the prospect of a heavy workload a little less daunting. If there’s a group for one of your classes, don’t be afraid to post on the group’s wall. And if there isn’t a group, don’t be afraid to step up and make one. Whether you recruit one or 100 members, you’ll build a valuable network of fellow students working together toward the same goal.