Every College Student Should Try a Social Media Break

Summer 2017 was tough. I wasn’t as productive as I’d like to have been and my boss at the time told me he couldn’t keep me as an employee for the upcoming school year “due to an unexpected change in workload.” I was determined to make this summer a lot better.

I worked in customer relations management for my hometown’s city government, and instead of going into fall semester without a job, I am now a resident advisor. This summer also included another change for me: I decided to take a social media break.

I logged off what I call the “big four” social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. This break let me concentrate on the things that mattered most.

Every college student should try a social media break because of the break’s ability to sharpen one’s focus and temporarily tune out noise from social news feeds.

Logging off of social media was surprisingly easy. The first few hours consisted of wondering where I was going to get my instant entertainment fix from; however, it became easier over time to go about my day without having the urge to endlessly scroll through perfectly-edited vacation pictures, news articles from all kinds of sources, dog ears and memes.

After logging off, I realized that I had begun to naturally exert my mental energy toward a smaller number of outlets. Rather than focusing on the hundreds of distractions on social media, I found myself only focusing on a handful of tasks: going to work, going to the gym, hanging out with my friends and watching the San Francisco Giants. I wasn’t opening up Instagram in-between meetings at work and I wasn’t looking at Twitter in-between innings of baseball games. When I was doing something, I was doing it fully rather than splitting my attention. No more pointless interruptions and no 10-minute scrolling breaks. This situation may seem simple and rather unimportant to those who have never experienced it, but this mental change was the biggest payoff to this break.

The quality of social media content has been getting worse, and because of that, I was rather glad to log off. Social media was more of a habit than something I found enjoyment in. Snapchat, aside from its endless eyesores of updates, has become an app less focused on social interaction and more on promoted media content from companies like Daily Mail, Brother and Cosmopolitan. Facebook used to be a platform for sharing one’s best moments, but now is merely a place for tasteless memes, non-credible news articles and iPhone app advertisements.

Some may have their doubts about taking a social media break. They may argue that it will take a hit on their social lives. For me, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Both in college and at home, I prefer to have a handful of friends who I know really well and can rely on consistently over having a large number of friends who I am not as close with. When I was off social media, I was still able to communicate with those friends by calling or texting them. I never felt I was missing out or out of the loop. The same goes for schoolwork. Nearly all of the communication I have with classmates about group projects or homework due dates happens via call or text.

Every college student should try a social media break. I never considered deleting social media outright and don’t see myself making such a drastic, irreversible change. I also never saw my social media break as a dramatic boycott. Small breaks for social media are ultimately better and more feasible than a cold turkey ban.

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