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

I have always loved taking pictures. Whether it’s posing with my friends, taking in the scenery on vacation, or simply a candid of my dog running in my backyard; my camera roll is filled with random snap-shot memories that all make me feel so warm inside when I scroll back and relive them. I think this is why I was drawn to social media, particularly Instagram, when I was younger. It gives me the chance to memorialize these happy snippets of time simply because I enjoyed them, and a few friends were there to cheer me on.

Somewhere between then and now, as social media grew and the pressures and the following that came with it, I feel like I have lost the original sense of comfort and happiness that came with posting my most joyful memories. I, like most people, now use social media to only post what I want other people to see me as: a collection of my prettiest moments, doing the coolest things, with the most friends that I can fit in the slideshow. Although these highlight-reel moments may have been something I wanted to post anyway since they sparked happiness, I now find myself thinking about my own pictures and decisions in a new light (Does my hair look okay? Am I posing in the right stance?) to decide if they are post-worthy for my following.

As much as I do feel burnt out from the constant self-examination that comes with choosing pictures for Instagram, and often find myself deleting the app when I feel weighed down by it, I now turn to VSCO to elicit the same joy that I used to feel by posting happy memories, without the ulterior motives to curate a perfect life. Even though there is some slight pressure to create an aesthetically pleasing VSCO feed, I am less focused on myself and what I look like and more on capturing joy, happiness, and the places that elicit those feelings for me. I keep my following small (if I ever even look at who I am following or who follows me), I am not overwhelmed by it, but happy to see my closest friends on the list and not feel the pressure to post anything other than what I personally want to post.

With my own personal experience in mind, I hope to serve as a reminder that if social media is adding a negative presence into your life as it has become in mine, you’re not alone, and it is okay to feel this way. It’s not too dramatic or too sensitive to feel weighed down by it, it’s simply a by-product of growing up in the age of technology and constant connection with other people. I feel empowered recognizing that some forms of social media have lost their original purpose for me, and I stand by my decision to put myself and my happiness first by deleting them entirely, or switching gears to other outlets, like VSCO, that spark joy. It is a relief to honor the pure sense of joy that I get from taking and sharing my favorite photos without restraint, and I hope that we can all start to use social media in a way that honors our own happiness again.

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.