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Can You Reach Me? No, You Can’t.

I have had a change in heart and mind the last 6 months. In may of 2021, I took a leap into a realm of darkness and social outcast: I deleted Snapchat. It was not the best circumstances that led me to make this decision, but I am grateful for it. If you learn from and acknowledge your mistakes and failures, it can help you grow tremendously.

Deleting Snapchat is not the most common action someone in our generation takes because of its immense influence in our interactions with people and our environment, especially on a college campus. Often times when you attend a social event and meet new people, the first question is ‘What’s your snap?” It is one of our main forms of communication.

I am certainly not here to praise myself for being “different” and “quirky.” I actively use social media platforms like Instagram (my favorite), Tik Tok and Facebook, but I do want to tell you: if you are thinking about deleting Snapchat or on the verge of doing it, then do it. Same goes for any social media platform that you feel is not helping your mental health.

Personally, I just felt as if I spent too much time on it. Keeping up with streaks, worrying about whether or not I was on someone’s private story and constantly looking at what other people were up to was just draining. Snapchat made me so invested in other people’s business and it amplified my FOMO if I wasn’t in on the scoop. On top of that, I would hear my friends talk about how they were left on delivered or opened for hours by someone and be upset. Heck, even I was upset when the guy I was interested in didn’t respond right away. It is a lot to admit yourself; pride is certainly the devil, but once you accept to yourself that it’s a potential problem, you are heading in the right direction.

So I deleted Snapchat, left UCSD, went home and my summer of solitude began. I fell out of contact with a lot of people. I wanted to focus on my family, my mental health and work on living present in the moment. Sometimes, you just have to take that first step forward and I wholeheartedly believe that deleting Snapchat gave me that push towards being okay with being ALONE. Summer of 2021 was different than anything I have ever experienced, and I am grateful for it.

I was able to catch up on sleep, reconnect with old friends, work 40 hours a week, read, meditate, work out and spend quality time with my family. I was able to see my sisters grow into their young adulthood and had the amazing opportunity to witness my younger sister’s first high school experiences! I had ample time cuddling with my dog, Max, eating homemade meals, laying out by the pool, and all that good stuff. I changed so much during my first year of college, but it was so peaceful to be one with my roots again. I truly felt like I was living in the moment, everyday. My anxiety about the future and worry about the past was quite limited. I took the moments as they came and rather than spending time Snapchatting people and engaging in surface level interactions, I would read a book, or spend time outside. Overall, I was able to disconnect from that intense realm. You never realize how much time it takes away from you.

Fast forward to my return to UCSD, I spent more time soaking in my solitude. I certainly miss my friends and I miss socializing, but my focus has shifted. I truly enjoy my alone time. And get this… my phone broke recently so I actually have been using my iPad to communicate but only when I have wifi (which is not always guaranteed on campus).

As Lorde would say: “Can you reach me? No, you can’t” and for this version of myself that I am currently experiencing, it is totally okay to be alone. I have come to realize that I no longer worry so much about what other people think. My fear of missing out has been lifted off my conscious and my eagerness to be in the know about who is doing what is no longer a concern of mine. We are all following our own paths and journeys, and if they cross then I appreciate it as it comes. As of now, I am working on finding a balance between my social time and my alone time and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and that is OKAY. Everything works itself out, remember that.

Can I credit this growth to my absence on Snapchat? Maybe. But either way it was a step in the right direction. Maybe next year I will get rid of social media all together? I really do love Instagram way too much to delete it. Stay tuned.

Hello, my name is Isabella Johnson and I am a 2nd year Political Science major with a concentration in International Relations and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Courage has allowed me to take chances and to recognize that fear of failure can be paralyzing, but experiencing failure can be inspiring. I am not one to stay in my comfort zone. I have gained wisdom from listening to others and I recognized that different perspectives, if respected, can bring in the best ideas – from the most simple of tasks – to the most complex. This mindset has allowed me to connect with people from varying backgrounds to gain their friendship, respect, and trust.
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