Erika Uyen Ramirez









By Erika Uyen Ramirez

Our first home

A long time has gone by since we used to exchange telegrams via regular mail. For urgent matters ONLY, and better stick to what’s important because they WILL charge you per word.

Ancient Telegram

But lately, the whole concept of telegram has suffered a change. Suffice it to type “t e l e g r a m” in Google and the result is completely different. So moms, dads and people not used to social networks, better watch it: If they’re looking for the traditional telegram service on the internet, they might get unexpected results that they won’t be able to understand:

Telegram en google

That’s right, the word “Telegram” now corresponds to a social network used to send and receive instant messages.
I know maybe for a lot of you this app has become terribly common, but for me, it has become forever linked to my Oxford experience. From now on whenever I use Telegram, whenever I think of how I started using it I will, inevitably, think of the Oxford MBA Class of 2017.
When I was applying to Oxford, I never thought that, once admitted, I would be able to talk to my classmates every day. I didn’t even think I would have an opportunity to socialize with them. Suddenly I found a link to a group and I clicked on it. I was on Telegram. Being admitted at such an early stage (Round 2), I was able to see a lot of people come and go through the chat rooms; I have seen all the names of the group change, as well as the welcome messages to the people from rounds 3, 4, 5 and 6. I have witnessed the creation of several different groups for every passion, every project, every interest, even for the Fashion Lovers!
Sure, there’s a downside for everything, and this case is no exception. I confess that, after some time I had to turn off the notifications for telegram because my cell phone would sound all-day-long. Obviously, this happens because we are joining Oxford from all around the world, and so when we westerns go to bed, our mates from the East rise and continue the conversation. This drained my battery, and also my internet. But hey! It’s not just me, we even warn it to every new person who joins the group:

Welcome message

Through this little app we have been able to get to know each other, feel accompanied, support each other… in sum, build a relationship. Nicknames have been assigned, promises for treks, vodka and bars have come and gone, and this way we have managed to create our first Oxford home. I don’t know about the rest, but for me, I know in the future when I think about when I first met everyone, I’ll have in my mind their telegram pictures and their writing style. The ironic style of some of them, the kind ways of other ones, and all the memes and gifs we shared.
I know nowadays it is normal to immediately create a WhatsApp or telegram group when you work / study with other people. I do it all the time in WhatsApp. But this time, I really wanted to highlight what I take away from this experience: No matter how normal it gets to communicate for free and in real time, the fact that we are able to connect so fast with people so far away and from so different cultures is definitely mind-blowing. I’m very thankful for this experience and I’m counting on making the most of it. Here’s to a great year, class of 2017!

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