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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

As a member of the class of 2026, I am no stranger to feeling overwhelming pressure to live up to my expectations for my college experience–a feeling I am sure many others can relate to. Despite my understanding that almost all college freshmen are in the same boat, I can not help but compare my experience so far with that of my friends on social media. It can be crushing to think that they are having more fun, making more friends, and enjoying their time more than you are. I am not here to tell you to avoid this thinking at all costs, because we can all get caught up in the social media comparison game from time to time. I am here to say, however, that you are not alone in feeling this way and to share some tips and advice that have helped me to change my mindset.

1. Highlight reels aren’t real.

It has been said a thousand times over, but I must repeat it: social media is fake! I, like many other social media users, often fall into the trap of comparing someone else’s glimmery highlight reel with my everyday struggles and imperfections. This can be especially harmful during a transition like moving into college as people might feel pressured to prove they are having the most “fun” on social media. In short, I have found that taking everything I see on social media with a grain of salt helps alleviate the pressure to compare because a picture never tells the whole story. I say, let’s start valuing real friendships and the pursuit of genuine interests instead of curating a certain social media feed.

2. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye to Instagram.

Honestly, it took me until this year to muster up the courage to delete Instagram–even if it was only for a few days. I felt like I was losing a part of myself, but I knew it would help me refocus on finding the joy in my life and stop thinking about everyone else’s. It was truly a game changer and helped me to realize that social media is supposed to add positivity to your life, not take it away. So, when I feel those negative thoughts creeping back in when I am scrolling through my feed, I simply take a break and I challenge you to do the same.

3. No one has it all figured out.

As a freshman, there is a lot of pressure to assimilate into the college culture right away and it might seem like everyone has the best friend group or the perfect balance between social and academic life right away. It might even seem like I have it all figured out by writing this article, but I promise you I do not–I’m just sharing what has helped me so far in the hopes that it can help other people! In fact, I was even feeling self-conscious for a while writing this article as I heard people laughing next door and I was in my dorm writing by myself, and that’s totally okay! Everyone feels lonely, uncomfortable, homesick, tired, etc. from time to time, but it is important that we give ourselves a grace period and constantly remind ourselves that absolutely no one has it all figured out, no matter how much it looks like they do.

4. All good things come with time.

Before I moved into Holy Cross, I was told that there is no better time than college to discover what you believe in, how you want to live your life, and who you want to take along for the ride. While I completely agree with this, I didn’t take into consideration how long this process will take. Learning a lesson from my high school self who didn’t meet some of her best friends until senior year, I have come to realize that all good things come with time. Sometimes we have to take the time to do a little soul-searching to meet all of the opportunities that lie ahead with an open mind. This realization is vital to living in the moment and enjoying the growth process as it unfolds, instead of anxiously trying to be someone we’re not.

College is hard, living on your own is hard, and making new friends is hard–there’s no denying it. But if we are open to embracing our own experiences instead of comparing ourselves to others, just think about all of the amazing moments that await us if we focus our attention on what is right in front of us: a place to make our own.

Lauren Harkins

Holy Cross '26

Lauren is an article contributor for Her Campus Holy Cross. She is a current undecided freshman who is enjoying getting to know campus and all of the opportunities Holy Cross has to offer! A Massachusetts native, Lauren loves to get outdoors, be active, and explore different areas of New England.