I Ditched Social Media (Mostly) and I've Never Been Better

    In today's age, social media is as intrinsic to social interactions as food and water are to life. You're easily considered a pariah or assumed to have some damning personality trait if you're not active on social media. According to Our World in Data, out of the roughly 7.7 billion people on the planet, a whopping 3.5 billion are active on social media in some way, shape, or form. That means roughly forty-five percent of everyone on the planet is either snapping, tweeting, posting to the gram, "whatsapp"ing, or using social media in some capacity on a regular basis. Almost every single person that I know is active on social media, and because of this, I have access to some of their most (supposedly) intimate moments. This caused me to become consumed with viewing the lives of others through social media and comparing their lives to mine - which always lead to disappointment. 

   Due to 24/7 accessibility to the lives of others, I found it more difficult to move on from toxic relationships and feel present when interacting with others. I was always checking to see if "so-and-so" had really been studying or found myself in a sunken mood when I realized my friends had gone out without me. Although social media was not at the root of any sadness I have felt, it most definitely was not the remedy. Hours upon hours were constantly spent on social media scrolling and viewing the lives of others - trying to ignore my own. I found myself distancing myself from those I cared about and being more interested in making sure I kept a certain persona on social media. I finally decided I had had enough. I was done with social media. 

Disclaimer: When I gave up social media, I did not give up apps like iMessage and GroupMe, as I use those to communicate for work and school as well as talking to friends and family. Also being totally honest, I could not give up scrolling through my various subreddits.

   The first few days have been difficult. I have been stuck in a loop of downloading and redownloading Instagram and Snapchat just to check for the occassional message or snap from a friend. But even then, according to my iPhone, my daily screen time has already decreased drastically from a ridiculous eight hours of screen time per day to (a still embarrassing) roughly two hours per day. I find myself more present in every day life, going on late-night drives and taking long walks to occupy my time - something that never would have happened earlier. I feel that my removing social media has also greatly impacted my academic performance. In class, I am more focused on the professor's lecture instead of allowing my mind to wander off to see if "xyz" has responded to my message. This also translates into better grades and less confusion. Another benefit that this break has had is an improvement on my quality of sleep. Being in ROTC, not only getting enough sleep, but the quality of those hours spent asleep are crucial to my performance as both a cadet and a student.

    Though I can't make the call for anyone else, I can tell what good removing myself from social media platforms has done in the short week since I did it. Honestly, I am not sure if I will ever go back (at least on a regular/daily basis). If you're feeling in a rut, down, or just like you need to clear your head, a social media cleanse may be just what the doctor ordered.