At the beginning of the year, I decided to take a break from social media. Post after post was about kids from my high school traveling around the world and having, what appeared to be, a time of living their best lives. All while I was still in school, as a super senior. I was jealous and it was affecting how I saw myself. I didn’t need to see all the selfies from rooftop bars in cool new cities or at the beach, while I was stuck sitting in the library, supposedly studying.
One night, I finally had enough. I stopped using social media because I was tired of thinking down on myself because I was in school a few years longer. So what? That doesn’t matter. Everyone has their own path-- that was the first thing I realized. It doesn’t matter what everyone else was doing, what mattered was what I was doing. What I do doesn’t affect them in any way, so why should I let it get me down when it doesn’t have too? Eventually I will get where they are, and I will have my own story to tell and my own lessons learned. Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who had already graduated and one whom I was slightly jealous of and she confessed to me that she was jealous of me! She was jealous because I was still in school and that is where she wanted to be-- not in the real world working but studying on campus with all her friends. How ironic.
The second thing I realized is how productive I was without social media. When I say no social media, I mean it. I had logged out of Instagram, Facebook, and VSCO. I stayed on snapchat, but I did not view anyone’s stories and I also ended my streaks with everyone except my brother and boyfriend. I had no idea what was going on in the world and that was okay. I was surprisingly able to go to bed every night before midnight because I didn’t waste any time. I was more focused, and I felt more confident in my schoolwork and tests. Ultimately, my grades went up because of it, which made me feel even better about myself.
Without social media, I was overall a happier person. I felt no comparison to anyone and I didn’t feel the need to photograph everything I did. I started to live more in the moment, and I realized that it was so much more fun than trying to make it look like I was living in the moment while actually keeping my camera focused at the same time. One weird thing I didn’t expect to experience was that I felt more confident in what I wore. Without seeing everyone wearing the “latest trends,” I wore what I liked. I felt good about myself and what I wore, and I even got more compliments than when I wore the same thing everyone else is wearing.
After about a month, I felt confident in myself again and I got back on all my social media platforms, but I went through and unfollowed everyone I didn’t still talk to or I didn’t even know personally. Now, I only follow those who I care about and those who care about me. I find myself not getting on social media as much anymore, and it’s not even the first apps I open up on my phone. Now when I’m bored, I read a book or play a game; I don’t just endlessly scroll through Instagram’s trending page. Sometimes I go days without checking my feed and I don’t even realize it!
I feel like a lot of us think that if we don’t know what is going on in everyone else's lives, we will fall behind, but I learned that’s not true. In a way, I feel like I came out on top in some aspects of life after taking a break from social media. Social media is both a source of positive and negative energy in our lives, but I think it’s important to balance it out so we can stay happy with who we are. And for you, if that means logging out for a while, do it!