Among the many members of the University of South Carolina Class of 2021 Facebook group was once Tampa resident John Hernandez. However, this week, the university freshman has dropped out of school citing stressful situations. The 18-year-old has since nobly removed himself from the page, but the shame of his actions holds steady in his mind.
In an interview with The Third Spur, Hernandez described the preceding events that culminated in his departure from the university saying, “at first I joined the Facebook group in April as soon as I submitted my deposit.” “Then,” Hernandez adds, “there was a post about being added to a GroupMe for poly sci majors in 2021 specifically, that led into being added to the larger USC poly sci group.”
Hernandez went on to discover that the GroupMe abundance only grew from there. “I was fine with being in those two GroupMes but then orientation started,” Hernandez stated, “They made separate chats for each orientation session. And, of course, we needed groups for rush week. This was only July and I was already in four GroupMes!”
But the worst finally came when housing placements came out. Hernandez stated, “soon there was a hall chat, floor groups, and we needed a place for messages just in my suite.” The overwhelmed new student hadn’t even stepped foot on campus and he was already juggling seven GroupMes.
“I thought I could handle it. I had to keep up with the memes specific to each group. I faithfully kept push notifications on so I would never miss a part of the current conversation. I went back and read every message I missed no matter the length. I knew the ins and outs of these chats, the decorum, the tone, the people,” he detailed.
It was when classes began that Hernandez spiraled out of control, though. “Each class had a chat, each TA group had a chat, each club I dared to be interested in had a chat,” Hernandez described, on the verge of tears.
It was late August when the freshman decided he couldn’t participate anymore- not just in the chats, but in school itself. “It was be in the GroupMe or be out of the loop. I just couldn’t have the FOMO nor the stress,” he said, staring wistfully in the distance.
After withdrawing from classes, Hernandez wrote an explanation in each group conversation. “My fellow poly sci majors of Bates West,” his message to one read, “it is with a heavy heart that I leave you today.” The notification stating that Hernandez had left the group received three “likes.”
Hernandez shares his story in hopes of warning future students. He wishes to bring awareness to the issue surrounding GroupMe at the university. Currently, when not advocating for perspective students, Hernandez resides in his Tampa home considering signing up for online classes.