While many Auburn traditions are shared between the different generations of students, a lot has changed for the average 20-year-old as well.
Social media, dating and nightlife are constantly evolving and shifting how generations of people experience their time in college.
“We didn’t have social media,” said Jennifer Levi, Auburn graduate in the classes of 1993 and 1995. “It was just a totally different time.”
AnnaLevi Chavis, junior in anthropology and Levi’s daughter, agreed the biggest difference between her and her mother’s generations is social media’s development.
“Twenty years ago, that wasn’t a thing,” Chavis said. “They had to be face to face.”
Both agreed social media has positive and negative effects.
“People feel like they have a right to say anything about anyone without considering kindness,” Levi said. “I’m not sure if my friends and I had had social media, how we would have responded to that.”
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While Levi recognizes how social media has made her daughter comparatively more mature, it also presents a lot of challenges she never had to face.
People often hide behind their screens or are too attached to them, Chavis said.
“Thank God there wasn’t social media when I was in college,” Levi said.
New technology also plays a role in how students communicate with professors.
“We probably had more human connection with our professors,” Levi said. “We got to spend more time with them, as far as one-on-one contact, as we were writing things.”
Dating has also changed significantly.
“I think that the idea of a blind date is a novelty thing now,” Chavis said. “We know so much about people before we actually date them a lot of times.”
Now, people often use dating apps as well.
“A lot of [my friends] are on dating apps right now,” Chavis said. “They’re on the apps, they meet these guys or girls, they go to restaurants or coffee shops; pretty typical dating style.”
Twenty-five years ago, however, dating was apparently more casual.
“We didn’t go straight to serious relationships,” Levi said. “It seemed easier to just be kids and enjoy the moment.”
Today, before going on a date, you find out what your date’s major is, where he or she is from and what your date looks like, Chavis said. She said she wouldn’t know much about her date until the date itself.
“We would ‘Glom’ each other.” Levi said. “If we knew you had a date with some boy, and you knew he was in this certain fraternity, we would go to the Glomerata and see what he looked like and see what it said about him.”
Chavis said she often goes on dates to the arboretum, local coffee shops and even road trips, while Levi said that dates during her time at Auburn were frequently at restaurants, the movie theater and parties.
“There weren’t a lot of places to eat back when I was in college,” Levi said. “That’s when restaurants really started adding into Auburn.”
At this time, wings became a popular item on the menu, too.
“They would have specials on wings,” Levi said. “We’d go eat wings for a nickel a piece.”
Chavis said in Auburn you go downtown, and you hang out with friends every weekend.
“That’s pretty much it,” Chavis said.
While the bars in downtown Auburn now have different names, their locations have been popular every weekend for generations.
“There were some bars that are different than they are now,” Levi said. “They’re in the same places but they have different names.”
One bar in particular was even considered an Auburn tradition.
“The Supper Club of course was where we went,” Levi said. “That’s where most of our fun occurred.”
College students for generations have also prided themselves on their own independence.
“My parents were great, fantastic people, and they wanted me to go out and be independent,” Levi said. “They trusted me implicitly. They left me great tools to accomplish what I was supposed to accomplish.”
Levi, being the mother of Chavis, has shared those tools with her daughter as well.
“I feel like I’m pretty independent,” Chavis said. “I make my own choices.”
While she is still close with her parents and connected to them, Chavis said she has her own agency.
This independence is also what Chavis said she believes she will miss the most about her twenties.
“I think as I grow up, and as I get into my career and get into my family life, if that’s what I decide to do, I’ll be so much more connected to people who depend on me,” Chavis said. “I think I’ll probably miss [my personal independence] the most.”
When asked what she misses most about being in her twenties, Levi said she missed “nothing.”
“I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self what I know now,” Levi said. “To live in the moment more — I would give anything to do it again, just knowing what I know now.”
With all of the changes for college students in the past 25 years, some things about Auburn remain the same as they always were.
“I go back to the things that I fell in love with at Auburn, and that my daughter and her friends are in love with at Auburn: It’s the sense of community, it’s the sense of tradition, it’s the sense of pride, it’s the sense of family,” Levi said. “Those things make Auburn special.”
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