‘Northeastern TikTok’ reflects first-year struggles, party culture problems


Marta Hill

Convocation and orientation were safe, community-building experiences for first-years amid partying concerns.

Clara McCourt, lifestyle editor

Northeastern first-years have taken to TikTok to mount their frustrations about the school’s party culture and social scene 一 and they’re racking up thousands of views. Feeling a lack of party culture, some freshmen have decided to create it for themselves, much to the chagrin of the university.

Northeastern students have carved out a niche for themselves on TikTok. The hashtag #northeastern has over 39 million views on its videos cumulatively. 

Keshvi Davani, a first-year cell and molecular biology major, says that “Northeastern TikTok” has become a community on the app.

“When I moved here, my For You Page was flooded with TikToks made by other Northeastern students,” Davani said.

Arielle Greenberg, a second-year combined mathematics and psychology major, says that she took inspiration from her fellow students. 

“Northeastern TikTok definitely garners more attention than, say, dancing videos. I was inspired to make mine through other Northeastern TikToks I’ve been seeing,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg’s TikTok, captioned, “When you want to party and have fun in college but then you commit to northeastern university,” received over 392 thousand views. Greenberg says her TikTok was inspired by a lack of school spirit and community impacting her Northeastern experience.

“I literally wanted to transfer last year because of the social scene … COVID made it so much worse,” Greenberg said.

Davani says that she feels separated from the rest of the freshman class due to her housing in International Village. She, along with members of her floor, made a TikTok captioned, “When u have to make ur own hall party cuz you’re a northeastern freshman.”

Erin Sheedy, a first-year biochemistry major, notices an exclusivity within her class. 

“In the first week or two, everyone made cliques like we were in high school. People are stuck in this high school mindset because of COVID,” Sheedy said. Sheedy’s TikTok, centered around having difficulties making friends, received 20 thousand views.

Davani says that it’s difficult for freshmen not only to make friends within their class but also to break into the social scene.

“It’s harder for freshmen to find out about events and parties compared to upperclassmen. I don’t know why that is,” Davani said.

Some students have taken party culture to an extreme. In a Sept. 16 email, Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Madeleine Estabrook warned against off-campus misconduct. Estabrook announced an increased police presence in the areas, as well as a zero-tolerance policy for students who violate the Code of Student Conduct.

“Among these complaints are reports of Northeastern students traveling in large groups from on campus residences and hotels to off-campus gatherings in the neighborhoods adjacent to campus … As the semester continues, let us redouble our efforts to show care and concern for Northeastern’s neighbors while also keeping the university community safe,” Estabrook said in the email.

“It’s a little scary, realizing how bad the problem is. I think this will change the dynamic of how people go out in the future,” said Olivia Summers, a first-year nursing major. Summers’ TikTok about first-year party culture racked up over 91 thousand views. 

Sheedy says that the university shouldn’t get involved unless students’ safety is at risk. 

“If [the university] thinks there’s a danger, they definitely should get involved. But I feel like it’s a right of passage for freshmen to make harmless mistakes. We are living out the past two years of not being able to party. Now that we kind of can, people are going wild,” Sheedy said.

In the email, Estabrook emphasizes that there are safe ways to interact socially. Davani gives the university credit for the programming they arranged for the class of 2025.

“Orientation and events definitely helped [socially]… things like Stuff-A-Husky introduced me to random groups of people,” Davani said.

As a second-year, Greenberg says that she feels left out seeing the first-years have positive programming through the university.

“At least the freshmen had convocation and orientation, [second-years] were kind of thrown to the streets. Northeastern didn’t make the effort to give us the freshman experience,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg says that she feels like “Northeastern TikTok” will be a unifying force among lonely students. 

“When I was a first year, I remember feeling so isolated. I thought I was the only one struggling. It’s a comforting feeling knowing that other people feel the same way,” Greenberg said.

Davani explains that some first years used “Northeastern TikTok” as a way to meet and engage with new people in their class.

“I found some people’s Instagrams from their TikToks and asked them to hang out. This happens a lot,” Davani said.

Sheedy agrees, saying that TikTok brings first years together safely.

“I made a couple of friends just because of posting my TikTok. A lot of people reached out that were in the same boat,” Sheedy said.

Greenberg says that “Northeastern TikTok” highlights a commonality between students that is hard to find anywhere else. 

“I like that everyone here has a sense of humor, that we can make light of the situation that we’re in,” Greenberg said.