I´ve never had social media: Here´s why

Many students have social media.  Here are a few reasons to take a pause on the apps.

Courtesy of flickr.com

Many students have social media. Here are a few reasons to take a pause on the apps.

Imagine a world in which checking your phone in the morning was the last thought on your mind. Or in which you didn’t know where your friend was attending college or where they had gone for the summer or if that one girl you met in a random Starbucks actually finished law school. Welcome to my world. I’m a high school senior who has managed to live without social media for the past 17 years. In fact, I’m not just living, I’m thriving.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. Has it made my social life impossible? No, that’s absurd. At times difficult? Yes, occasionally. How do you keep yourself updated about things pertaining to your peers? This may seem absolutely bizarre, but I simply ask.

Most people don’t understand when I explain to them that I can’t message them on Instagram or Snapchat. They give me a puzzled look and start asking a bunch of questions on how I manage to live, as if social media avoidance is the most foreign concept they have ever heard of.

If it’s hard for my peers to imagine, I don’t blame them. Our world is like a machine that connects us to one another virtually in order to distract us from the reality and relationships that require face-to-face connection. Even as someone who has tried her best to disconnect from that machine, it’s easy to forget that there was once a time when not everyone had a cellphone loaded with endless apps.

That little device has become a necessity in modern life.

Not having social media has done the opposite of what most people would expect. Lack of social media hasn’t severed my social ties, but made them stronger. It showed me who my true friends are, by revealing to me the ones who cared about genuine personal relationships just as much as I did.

There’s something magical about not having to put your life on display. Maybe it’s because I still don’t understand why people would want to put details about themselves online, but it’s refreshing living the way you want to live. No comments, no pressure of getting a like- only pure self-reflection.

Of course, social media isn’t all bad, and that’s not my proposition. Like everything in life, it has the power to do tremendous good and amplify voices that have struggled to be heard. But from my personal experience, the bad and the ugly rise to the surface fast.

I’m content with my life’s direction, and while I can’t say for sure if I’ll ever join the social landscape, seeing how much pain it has caused over the years, I’d say that I’m pretty satisfied with my decision. Yes, I still have a phone and use it to text and call my friends like everyone else, but that’s about it.

My hope is for young people to really understand that there is no external life force that’s holding you back from taking a break when it comes to your online presence. Here’s my advice: Just be your own person. I know people say this all the time, but it isn’t until you experience it for yourself that you will realize how much underlying joy you´ve been holding back. Get involved only when and if you want to.

My experience has enabled me to become more confident and focused on my goals. It´s taught me how to live life in a different way, a way that cultivates deep and genuine connections with those around me.

If you really want to experience what I’m talking about, here’s a challenge that I propose: take a break for a whole month. And I really mean it- be honest with yourself and don’t cheat. Use that time to do something you wouldn’t normally do and reconnect with the people with whom you´ve lost touch during the pandemic. Try a new hobby or just breathe the fresh air outside. Be 100% yourself. It may be hard at first, but stick with it. All trials in life take effort so don’t be surprised by how much endurance it’ll take. If you can make it through a pandemic for over a year, then I believe in you enough that you can do this for a month. I’m confident that at least a small part of you will be happier or that you’ll learn a valuable lesson through it all. What do you have to lose?

Three…two…one…your time starts right now.