Each college has a specific part on Tik Tok to showcase the good, the bad and the weird of their respective universities.
This trend of showing off one’s school gained traction when students from New York University (NYU) began showing off their less than exemplary quarantine meals, which included unripe fruit, bottles of water and, in some cases, non-vegan foods being given to students who specifically asked for the vegan option.
As the popularity of NYU Tik Tok continued to grow, students from other schools began to emulate those same videos. There was a time where my “For You Page” was solely different colleges’ quarantine meals. Honestly, watching the videos made me more excited to return to San Luis Obispo just because I was ready to see what Cal Poly students would make their Tik Toks about.
As of writing this, there are 22.7 million videos on the Cal Poly Tik Tok tag. The videos vary in content, but it seems like the majority of the videos have to do with sorority rushing. Other hit trends also include: proving that students are the main character with the Lana Del Rey song “Mariners Apartment Complex” in the background, day in the life videos and the “yeah mom I’m fitting in at (blank).” Students have also used Tik Tok to talk about issues on campus like Cal Poly’s Covid-19 response, the Lambda Chi Alpha Blackface scandal and how white the campus is.
There have even been some Cal Poly Tik Toks that have gone viral. One was an interaction in one of the freshman dorms where the user is having a passive-aggressive fight by pen and paper with the people in the room above them. The video has around 11 thousand likes.
My personal favorite video from Cal Poly Tik Tok is one of somebody’s snapmap with the text “Cal Poly students studying in their dorm rooms” showing most of her snap friends in their dorms. It then zooms in to see their other friend in the forest away from them with the sound “I am f****** crazy but I am free.” That video has almost 300 thousand likes, making it the most popular video on the Cal Poly tag.
Public health freshman Gianna Hebert is the creator of that Tik Tok and wasn’t expecting how popular her video would get.
“I was really surprised it blew up but it was fun because I would show some of my friends the video but they had already seen it because someone they knew sent it to them,” said Hebert.
Most of the recent Tik Toks being made on the Cal Poly tag are being made by freshmen. This makes sense, as there isn’t much for the freshman to do with all the Covid regulations in place – especially if they’re put into quarantine or quarantine-in-place.
Students have a lot more time on their hands when they’re in quarantine so why not participate in the newest trend so they can hopefully go viral. What else are they going to do?
There’s also a certain appeal to Tik Tok that makes people want to spend hours on it.
“Tik Tok is appealing to our generation because it’s just short, funny videos that you can laugh about with your friends,” said Hebert.
Now, the question is “What is Cal Poly known for on Tik Tok?”
The simple answer is: white people.
Most Tik Toks that were made always had something to do with Cal Poly being a white person school, not being able to find your lost white friend at a party because they look like everybody else or users, specifically people of color, using the sound “you’re beautiful…..but I’m really into blondes.” This is a jab at the encounters they have with people at Cal Poly who would rather have the “idealistic” blonde sorority girl than date a person of color.
As Cal Poly is the whitest university in California, it would only make sense that the Cal Poly tag would also be about white people. Tik Tok has been an outlet for people to be creative and escape the world of college or responsibilities for a short (or rather long) time.
Communication studies junior Victoria Sanchez says that while it can be seen as a distraction to most, for her, it’s become a motivator.
“When I have a lot of assignments, to not feel completely overwhelmed, I will split up my assignments. After I’ve done an assignment or reading, I will give myself 10 minutes to go on Tik Tok. By doing this I still feel productive and I usually get a good laugh out of it all,” said Sanchez.