Hold On, Let Me Snap This

The music is blasting, and I’m out with all my friends having a great time. All of a sudden, I get the urge to grab my phone, go on Snapchat and start documenting my night. It’s as if I have to prove to myself and to others that I did go out and have a great time. Social media has made it so that we feel as if we have to constantly display most aspects of our life for the world to see and assume that we truly are living our best lives. Now, I am not saying that the constant posts and updates on social media automatically mean I am not truly having fun; however, when we feel the need to stop, take a snap or make any other update on social media—this is when we aren't truly living in the moment. While it is definitely painful to admit, I am 100 percent guilty of this “social media” plague. 

As a college student, there are so many pressures taking over and consuming us every day. Whether it is pressure about grades, future careers, getting an internship, or even the latest love interest, there are so many factors that constantly work against us as we are simply trying to navigate college life and figure out who we are and what we want to become. The impact that social media has and the prevalence it has in our daily lives has added to the social pressure of documenting every aspect of life for everyone else to see. The harsh reality of this is that we probably don’t even know the people plastered all over our social media accounts that well. However, when you go on social media and see others going out and posting pictures that make it seem like they have their lives all together, it becomes very difficult to watch.

My New Year’s resolution is to actively try putting my phone away whenever I get the chance, and simply just enjoy the moment I’m in. While it can be very difficult to not reach for my phone and try to capture the fun moments I experience in my life, there are definitely some ways where I can learn to have a healthy balance.  

1. Only post one or two snapchats per night

Sometimes after I go out, I immediately want to apologize to the friends I have on Snapchat. I wake up the next morning to the surprise of checking my story and seeing multiple selfies and videos: some were intentional, others were not. These videos and pictures that I have posted aren’t necessarily embarrassing, but it’s very evident that I spent a majority of my time documenting my night instead of actually enjoying my time. As college students, I don’t think that we are always aware of the distraction social media has, especially since it has become a normal aspect of our daily lives. By limiting yourself to only posting one or two Snapchats whenever you’re out with friends or family, it allows for one to enjoy the moment Instead of missing it.

2. Keep each other accountable 

When hanging out with friends or even just people watching around campus, it’s obvious that while many people are walking to class and hanging out with their friends, they are simultaneously absorbed by whatever is on their phone screen. Going out to dinner with friends, but sitting at the dinner table staring at your phone, completely defeats the purpose of having a social interaction. Maybe we can try to pile everyone’s phones before dinner to encourage conversation? Another solution to the social media takeover is to try and make a game out of it, where whoever breaks and goes on their phone first has to buy an appetizer for everyone to share. Overall, social media has changed the way we communicate and how it personally depicts our lives. By keeping our selves and our friends accountable, we allow for the opportunity to actually connect and catch up with one another without the distraction of social media.

3. Only spend 10 minutes out of your night taking pictures for social media

I think I can speak on behalf of many young women when I say that getting ready for an event or a dinner takes forever. While I hate to admit this, a lot of instances where I spend time and effort on looking nice for a night out, it is often times just to take pictures. After spending hours getting ready simply for the photo opportunity and to then look through my camera roll and not even like a single picture is where I know it is time to draw the line. I waste time taking pictures when I could have spent my time enjoying where I was or what I was doing. I’m not saying never stop for a second to take a couple of pictures, but instead try to limit the time that you spend doing so. Pictures are definitely great memories to have and to cherish with the people you love; however, the memories you have and share with those people are greater than any picture you could ever take. 

Overall, I want to try and be more mindful with my life moving forward. As I have just recently come to realize how much I rely on my social media accounts and on my phone in general, I know that it isn’t impossible to make small changes. Up until this time, my phone and social media accounts have been a security blanket. My phone is there for me to save me from awkward situations and it is also there to boost my self-esteem and make me feel better about myself. But in our society today, social media is used as a way to paint a certain picture of how you want to be viewed by others. So, moving forward, instead of spending my time mindlessly scrolling on my phone, I’m going to make an actual effort to disconnect at times and live life in the present.