A key aspect in any college experience would have to be meme pages. Alongside the ever-increasing popularity of social media, student bodies always seem to feature some form of meme account. Unbound by school rules, meme pages provide an unfiltered view of school life for many college students. This also holds true for NYU Shanghai’s meme accounts. 

by @weareshanghai on instagram

Out of the many NYU Shanghai meme pages, one account reigns supreme: @weareshanghai. The account has been running for two years now, starting right along the time when NYU Shanghai was dealing with China’s travel restrictions in light of COVID-19. The account has over 800 followers, a significant portion of the student body. The popularity of these pages makes sense considering their content. Their posts usually center around student life, whether that be the school or the student body’s shared experiences. The posts always have a humorous tone, pointing out the common frustrations that NYU Shanghai students face. 

by @weareshanghai on instagram

Accounts like these also garner substantial amounts of student interaction. Under any post, you will often find students commenting and expressing their own opinions on the matter, whether comedic or not. Joseph Hauser, class of 2025, frequently does this. According to Hauser, meme pages are an entertaining source of school-related content and comradery: “It allows me to relate to the community and find out things that aren’t commonly talked about.” Furthermore, Hauser often interacts with these accounts, saying, “I usually just leave a like, but if it’s something I particularly relate to, I will comment.” 

@weareshanghai and their posts can easily be chalked up to simple satire, but their intentions are deeper than that. While it is easy to see those who run meme accounts as judgmental individuals hiding behind anonymity, the reality is quite the opposite. Through anonymity, meme account owners can safely express their criticisms, ones that are often shared by the student body. Large voices acknowledging school issues in such a manner resonate with NYU Shanghai’s student body in an easily consumable way. By doing so, they open up real truths and feelings that NYU Shanghai students often have.

by @weareshanghai on instagram

Furthermore, accounts like these offer a way to cope with the shared struggles of college life, and find relief in the fact that their grievances are shared. For some students, the pressure of moving to Shanghai, taking difficult classes, and even just starting college can be daunting at times. And while the school provides myriad forms of support for their students, there seems to be an intangible barrier between students and faculty, one that makes students feel that the school cannot always relate to their own personal struggles. However, the community that these meme accounts offer, provide a subtle, yet much needed form of support. 

by @weareshanghai on instagram

@weareshanghai’s account name is a nod towards NYU Shanghai’s alma mater, a song that is meant to echo the fundamental aspects of attending this school. It’s meant to represent the best of NYU Shanghai. However, this polished view of the school is far from accurate at times. Like any college, NYU Shanghai is rife with mishaps, half truths, and semesters spent on Zoom. So, when looking for ways to see what’s really going on at NYU Shanghai, make sure to give meme pages a follow.