Swipe. Like. Follow. In today’s generation, the world of social media follows this consistent yet varied system of people connecting with one another online. Whether it is a good or bad thing depends on many different factors, but there’s one thing we know for sure: social media has increasingly gained more users than ever before.
This has especially been highly linked with college students, who rely on social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat to communicate with one another and stay updated on their whereabouts.
As someone who only recently began using social media, I don’t have as much expertise to offer compared to others who have been users since they were younger. However, I have faced enough challenges to offer you some wisdom on how you can maintain a healthy lifestyle this academic year while still being able to utilize social media every now and then.
As a reminder, the following advice I am about to share is solely based on my personal experience. Everyone has their own experiences with social media, and I respect that.
- don’t be afraid to delete apps from your phone every now and then.
Throughout my sophomore year of college, I remember deleting and reinstalling Instagram on my phone a total of twelve times. At this point, you might be thinking, “Gennah is crazy. She must’ve been through a lot to have done that.” Well, you’re not entirely wrong. Sure, there may have been some small personal matters which took place, but they were not significant enough to threaten my mental health or break my daily routine. Most of the times when I deleted Instagram I simply wanted some space from it. My point is, you don’t need to have gone through a significant event in your life to feel the need to delete a social media app from your phone. It’s totally normal to delete social media just because you feel like it. Try it out and see for yourself; it could really help reduce the time you spend scrolling through your phone.
- set a routine and plan ahead of time.
When you don’t have a daily routine, it can be tempting to grab your phone and be less productive for most of the day. Especially with classes kicking in, you might have so many tasks and you might end up not accomplishing any of them. Therefore, it’s crucial that you list out all your daily assignments so you are aware of what is most important and in what order. Make sure when you plan for your upcoming days, you are not only looking at a couple days ahead, but also seeking out the big picture. If, for instance, you know that you will be attending a retreat in the next month or so, it would be ideal to plan for reducing your “break time” (in this context, your time of scrolling through your social media feed) on the few days leading up to the retreat, allowing you to allocate more time to packing your stuff.
- not everything needs to be filmed or captured.
A huge part of college life is the social aspect: making friends, attending events, and having the chance to meet and network with all sorts of people. While the word “social” is preeminent in this case, it does not immediately entail that social media is the main facet of one’s social life. While filming a certain moment can be a great way to store a memory and look back on it several years later, what matters most is that you were able to live in the moment and experience it for yourself. Okay, I’ll admit, that sounded a little cheesy, but I hope you can understand that there are, in fact, many people in the world who don’t own phones or cameras like we do, yet they still manage to live lives that they consider happy and satisfying. So, YOLO (You Only Live Once), and don’t let your dream Instagram post or mini vlog distract you too much from the wonders of life.
- take note of your priorities.
Just like I mentioned above, getting the chance to capture something on camera is not always the priority. Nor is the goal of getting a certain number of likes on your latest post (unless it is for professional marketing purposes). Every once in a while, remember to ask yourself these questions: “What are my goals in life? What am I doing to contribute to them?”. Of course, every individual would differ in their answers, but it is not too often you would come across someone whose main goal in life is to become the most popular person on social media. As you continue your studies in college and reflect on what you want to achieve before and after graduation, it is best to reflect on what you’re doing right now, and what you can change to keep yourself on track with your goals.
As a social media assistant for my chapter of Her Campus, it may seem quite ironic that I’m giving advice on how to limit social media use during the school year. However, based on my personal experience with social media, I would like to be able to inspire others to use social media as an outlet for expressing themselves and being creative, instead of as a way to cope with stress and boredom. At the same time, I hope others will be able to transform their lives’ perspectives in a way that expands beyond the scope of social media.