Tag Archives: reflection

Deleting social media: My experience

By Tahrima Bhuiyan

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[5 minute read]

In March of 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, I decided to delete all of my social media accounts. At the time, I had been feeling for a while that social media was a toxic place for my mental health and was not adding anything particularly valuable to my life. Back when I had social media, at times I would delete the apps from my phone without deleting the accounts themselves. But I would always end up feeling bored one day or another and re-download the apps. Upon re-downloading, I always found that the time away from social media made no difference: as soon as I re-downloaded the apps to my phone, I was immediately engaging with them in the same way as before.

Photo by Plann on Unsplash

When quarantine rolled around, a lot of other things in my life went on pause. A lot of people found themselves burning out and feeling stressed in the midst of the semester due to work, school, and social demands weighing on their time. Thus, the beginning of quarantine was almost a relieving pause for some, providing a mental change of pace that our brains and bodies might have been longing for. We were already gearing up for a spring break when the announcement that USC would be initiating remote learning was made, so many students were ready for some time off at this point. This break from other obligations in my life seemed to create the perfect environment for me to take a break from social media as well, as deep down I had been wanting to do this for a while. So, the decision to delete my social media accounts was not one that I even thought about when I did it. I went on Instagram one day in the beginning days of quarantine and felt instinctively that I wanted to delete my social media. While I may not have needed to think about the decision to delete my accounts at the time,  I have since reflected a lot on the decision, its consequences, and what I think about social media and its role in my life. Since then, I have not regretted the decision to delete my accounts even once, and have no desire to ever download social media again. Here is why:

I often found myself tapping away at my phone, clicking on apps and scrolling through social media feeds mindlessly. Social media provides a quick dopamine release–while many know dopamine as the “pleasure” drug, it is not just released when we experience pleasure, but when we expect it. Because the engagement of likes and comments on our posts as well as the reward of messages from friends and family can be experienced on social media, it has a natural pull on our brains. Even when there are no notifications, there is the anticipation of a quick reward with these apps that we turn to throughout the day. This makes the work of our daily life–work, school, studying for an exam, or writing a paper–boring and even difficult and impossible by comparison. This is what causes us to click on social media and scroll mindlessly as a distraction from our daily lives. I found that social media enabled procrastination, especially when I would rather engage in mind-numbing activities than confront something difficult. This is the phenomenon of a disengaged mind–mindless and distracted, using technology, making it difficult to focus. Our lives with school, work, and even social activities can be overstimulating and it can be easier to engage in mindlessness and look for a quick dopamine boost as an escape. When I deleted social media, I realized I was still reaching for my phone often, not realizing the apps were no longer there for me to scroll through mindlessly. This is when I truly realized how often I had been distracting myself with these apps. 

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Another harmful aspect of social media is how easy it is on social media to compare one’s life with everyone else’s. It is easy to forget that people post their life’s highlight reel on social media and that we can get caught up in comparing their high moments to our behind-the-scenes. Comparison is the thief of joy, and often seeing what everyone is doing can cause FOMO or the “fear of missing out”. Social media also enables us to not just take in what others are doing, but to compare ourselves in terms of how many likes or followers we are getting. I have found that since deleting social media, I am able to live more in the present moment and do things without consideration of what others might think of it.

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Life These Days

By Brianneth Rocha

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

It seems like just yesterday, the world stopped in response to the pandemic. For the first few months of social distancing, I lost track of the days. Before I had time to perceive it, weeks had gone by. All plans were thrown out the window, and the year that marked the third decade of my life has been nothing like I originally expected. I could have spent all of my time dwelling on the lost moments and experiences, but instead I chose to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So, after giving myself time to reflect and acknowledge that my home would most likely be the center of my whole life for the rest of the year, I worked to find my motivation and passion.

At the beginning of the pandemic, things weren’t so bad, as I had school to occupy myself with. Society as a whole went on an exploration through the world of Zoom. There was frustration and even hatred towards technology, and for many learning technology has been like learning a new language. However, once we all settled into the basic framework of living in an online world, technology became the bridge connecting everyone via a virtual landscape. Lately, Zoom has been a key feature in my life. From classes to weekly meals with my friends, it seems that we are all in long-distance relationships these days. We have found a way to connect without the need for physical presence.

Photo by Beci Harmony on Unsplash
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Discovering Our Resilience

By Alyssa Delarosa

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

What is it exactly that enables us to leave our beds every morning? What is it that motivates us to perform daily tasks such as school, homework, studying, work, chores, etc.? In the midst of a now year-long global pandemic, how are we still able to function? In each of us, there exists a trait called resilience that is the driving force behind our decisions to perform our daily tasks even while the world outside is undergoing a chaotic time. Resilience means that while we may have a million things happening either directly to us or around us, we are able to still carry on with our responsibilities. We do this by prioritizing certain tasks as essential duties meaning that we are so bound and determined to follow through on our decision(s), we will ignore all other things attempting to distract us from our priorities. So why is this important?

Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

The reason why I chose to write this article on resilience is because I strongly feel that we have an issue with recognizing and acknowledging our own resilience, and therefore we do not give ourselves the credit and acknowledgment we deserve. Prioritizing certain tasks and events over others, even while the world may be falling apart around us, is no small feat. I firmly believe that we owe it to ourselves to recognize our resilience in the daily, seemingly insignificant decisions that we make. By choosing to recognize our resilience and give ourselves credit, we are making the decision to show ourselves self-care. We are also feeding our confidence and self-esteem in a healthy way.

How can we recognize and acknowledge our resilience? Personally, I try to be mindful of the fact that every decision I make is important and give myself credit for prioritizing things even if they are small such as getting out of bed, attending class, and opening up my textbook to study for my exam. I recommend that you do the same: Give credit to yourself for every decision you make even if it seems small, getting out of bed when the world is falling to pieces and showing up to your Zoom lecture to take notes and listen are no easy tasks.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash
Continue reading Discovering Our Resilience