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Social media fast results in mixed emotions

Crosslin Silcott, Eliza Gonzalez, Kathleen Ortiz and Sara Geiger found different ways to spend their time during their week without social media.

Crosslin Silcott, Eliza Gonzalez, Kathleen Ortiz and Sara Geiger found different ways to spend their time during their week without social media.

Sara Geiger

Crosslin Silcott, Eliza Gonzalez, Kathleen Ortiz and Sara Geiger found different ways to spend their time during their week without social media.

Sara Geiger

Sara Geiger

Crosslin Silcott, Eliza Gonzalez, Kathleen Ortiz and Sara Geiger found different ways to spend their time during their week without social media.

Social media fast results in mixed emotions

Four editors refrained from all social media use for a five day school week and logged their experiences.

January 13, 2020

Monday

Crosslin:

    My alarm clock goes off at 6:40 a.m.  and I instantly open my phone to check Snapchat, only to be reminded that it’s not there. Typically, I will check Snapchat and other apps such as Instagram and Twitter as soon as I wake up. The brightness tends to wake me up, and I get out of bed quicker. This morning, however, I snoozed my alarm until 7:30 a.m. Despite my struggle to get out of bed, I noticed that I was able to slightly focus more in my classes. During class, I would open my phone to distract myself from doing my work, but I suddenly realized there was little for me to do on my phone. I tried playing games, but I quickly got bored and came to the conclusion that I was just wasting my time. 

 

Eliza:

    It is currently 11:39 p.m. of my first day without social media and I can proudly say, I made it. Before today I had really low expectations and little faith in the idea of a week without any socials, but now, I have high hopes. The morning was rough, I woke up and immediately reached for my phone, ready to hop on Instagram and lay in bed for an extra 10 minutes only to realize that it was no longer there. I got out of bed, got dressed and ready to go and even had time to toast a bagel. Usually, I would scroll through Instagram or Snapchat on the way to school and having to replace that with a couple games and looking out the window is just not as entertaining. However, as the day went on I realized how little I was reaching for my phone. I didn’t have the constant feeling of wanting to check to see what was going on and it overall increased my productivity. I remained attentive in all of my classes, and accomplished double the amount of work I usually would have during lunch. When I got home, I had a long list of things to do. My physics homework was due at 10 p.m., my APUSH quiz was due at 11:59 p.m. I also had a DBQ to write, an English packet to do, and an NHS meeting at 5 p.m. Usually, a day like this would really stress me out and keep me up until around 1 a.m., but I was able to get everything done before 11 and can calmly go to bed. I am very confident that I will struggle as the week goes on, but I hope that I remain productive.

 

Sara: 

   Today is my first day without social media for a week and honestly, I have high hopes. Although looking at my collective screen time for the week is usually a bit terrifying, I have gone a few days without social media before, so I think staying away from Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and TikTok for an extra few days will be fairly painless. However, a few times today, I almost clicked on a couple of my most-frequented apps purely out of habit but I managed to stop myself before I could catch a glimpse of any content. Overall, I would say not having my socials today wasn’t difficult at all. I think the reason I didn’t miss the apps was because I was continuously occupied with other tasks, so I think as long as I have something else to do, I won’t miss social media hardly at all this week. 

 

Kathleen:   

    Today has been a really good day without social media. Usually when I have downtime in Chemistry I check Twitter (I get tweet notifications for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Zendaya and my parents). In Spanish, my table partner Carter scrolls through my Instagram and I update him on what our friends are doing since he doesn’t have an account, and during lunch I watch Tik Toks to relieve stress. However, today I couldn’t do any of that. During Chemistry, I finished ¾ of my homework before the bell rang, I participated in group discussions in Spanish and I did three interviews during lunch. I came home feeling productive and hung out with my sisters a little more than usual. I opened my phone and then immediately shut it off again multiple times. I did find some games on my phone to play instead of scrolling on my socials, but that didn’t waste nearly as much time nor did it generate nearly as many negative thoughts as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. The only time I even thought of likes and comments was when I asked my mom to post a few photos (that I had already picked out) with a caption (I had already written pre-social media deletion) to my Instagram for one of my close friend’s birthday. The only sad part was missing my friends that I only message over social media. 10/10 day overall, can’t wait for tomorrow.

 

 

Tuesday

Crosslin:

   I’m beginning to develop a case of major FOMO (fear of missing out). Today in class, my classmates talked about how it was someone’s birthday. I had no idea, but I know I would have seen it on at least 20 people’s Snapchat stories before I even left for school if I were to have social media. During free time in class, my friends scroll through their Instagram as I stare at a blank screen. It feels like I’m on a long plane ride, where I can only use my phone for games. However, this plane ride is a week long, and not everyone else is on it. Although feeling a bit disconnected, it has been nice not having as many distractions in class. I’ve noticed that I’m able to get my work done much quicker than I normally would. I get most of my homework done in class, that way I have little to do when I get home and can get to bed earlier.

 

Eliza:

   Today was tons easier than yesterday. I miss knowing what’s going on and being able to send quick pictures to my friends on Snapchat, but besides that, today was good. I didn’t think about wanting to go on social media as much and was able to focus on studying. I’ve noticed that without the constant notifications from different apps, I don’t get distracted as much which helps me do my work faster. I miss social media, but I have definitely seen an improvement in my productivity.

 

Sara:

   Day 2 of no social media was a bit harder than yesterday but still not bad. Today I noticed I accidentally clicked on the apps a few times more than I did yesterday. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I quickly remembered the challenge and closed them before actually racking up any screen time. I was busy again today so any spare time was used to do homework. I checked my screen time and I realized that rather than entertaining myself on social media, I have been spending more and more time on YouTube. YouTube is my kind of “loophole” to this challenge because while its not technically a social media app, I can still stay updated on a few things that are going on with my favorite celebrities and YouTubers; and it functions as another form of mindless entertainment. Overall, today was a success, although I will say I am starting to miss being able to see what everyone has been posting in the last two days.

 

Kathleen:

   Today was a good day, but didn’t go as well as I had hoped. Today I found games to play to replace my social media apps. I played “BitLife” and “Game Pigeon.” I was much more productive than usual, but I still spent time on my phone. Today I was grateful I didn’t have TikTok, because Tuesday nights are when I’m notoriously bad at staying focused on homework, but I did miss Instagram. One of my soccer teammates asked if I had seen her comment on my post, and it was kind of awkward having to tell her no I hadn’t and that my mom had posted it for me since I was social media-less. Lastly, I was proud of my focus last night. Instead of checking Instagram or reading Twitter threads every five minutes, I actually sat down and did my Algebra 2 review packet for a long period of uninterrupted time.

Wednesday

Crosslin:

   Today was a very productive day. I got all my work done in all of my classes, and came home and cleaned my entire room. On any other given day, I would have come home and scrolled through TikTok in my bed for a good three  hours. Not having to worry about homework assignments or a messy room lifted much stress off of my shoulders, and I was in bed by 8 p.m. I was never truly aware of how much of my day being on social media chews up. It feels like there are 30 hours in the day now instead of 24. Not being able to see what other people, who I don’t even talk to, are doing 24/7 has been relieving. I often catch myself comparing my life, body or face to others on social media. I’ve noticed that I’m much more content and confident without this constant access to comparison.

 

Eliza:

   I have hit a low. I have completely replaced social media with watching Netflix, which makes me want to keep watching episode after episode and I have horrible FOMO. I feel as if because I’m not seeing the same things or keeping up with everyone, I’m missing something important. My screen time had gone down significantly until today because I kept watching Netflix, which I am honestly very disappointed about.

 

Sara:

   It’s the third day of the social media fast and it’s starting to feel like a punishment. I realized that I use social media as a way to decompress during or after school; I get to think about something else other than school and work, so without being able to do that I feel more stressed and more irritable. I’ve been listening to music a lot more but I left my headphones at home today so I couldn’t do that for most of the day. My friends have been sending me some TikToks over text, and seeing those few makes me want to get back on the app, but I can’t. I feel a little left out because of that but mostly I’m annoyed that I can’t go on whatever app I want when I want to. I’m ready for this challenge to be over because it’s just getting harder everyday and it’s too tempting to see the apps and not be able to use them. I don’t have an unhealthy relationship with social media, so it’s just inconvenient to have my habits restricted at this point.

 

Kathleen:

   Today has been a rough day in general, but to be honest I think it would have been worse with social media. I didn’t do great on the algebra test I had studied for, but not having social media helped me cope with it. When I told my mom my grade, she wasn’t upset because she knew that I studied hard last night and hadn’t been distracted by social media. It wasn’t like I was distracted on TikTok and Instagram and that’s why I did poorly on my test. Today, I’ve decided I’m not going to redownload TikTok when this week is over because of how much better my week has been without it. I honestly believe that without social media I’ve been a happier and more social person this week. I would also like to add that I have really gotten some good quality YouTube time without my social media. I’m good at managing my time on YouTube, because videos are a set amount of time, while scrolling the Twitter-verse is endless. Today I watched someone rank the Dance Moms cast (only the adults though) and I watched a compilation of Yolanda Hadid telling Gigi Hadid not to eat for two minutes straight.

Thursday

Crosslin:

   Tomorrow will be my last day without social media, this is the homestretch. I am currently at the library doing my homework. While I have less things to distract me from getting it done, I feel very much unmotivated. I will usually make a schedule for myself, giving myself mental breaks to get on my phone between studying. When I would usually spend that time scrolling through TikTok or Twitter, this week I have replaced it with texting my friends or online shopping. However, it just isn’t the same. As silly as it sounds, I don’t feel that I get the same level of satisfaction, and it leaves me feeling dull and unmotivated when I force myself to go back to doing my homework. It’s like having an awful day at school, and looking forward to lunch all morning. But when you finally get to lunch, your mom packed you your least favorite food, and you go back to class feeling even worse than you felt earlier.

 

Eliza:

   Today was probably the easiest of all because I was super busy with homework so not having social media to distract me really helped me focus. I will admit that I was pretty dramatic yesterday and even though I did in fact watch basically a whole season of New Girl, I did get my work done so I do not consider it a “low.” Also, my FOMO has definitely gone away and I have realized that my I see my friends practically everyday and text constantly, so I am not missing anything super important. My screen time has gone down since yesterday and I even turned in my APUSH discussion board early because I was bored. Overall, I think that I am officially over my shock and have learned that I can very well live without a phone.

 

Sara:

   Day 4 of no social media wasn’t too bad. I’m not having the best week and I think part of it is because I don’t have social media. I realized I use social media to get my mind off of things for a few moments and that helps me stay relatively stress-free. Since I haven’t had that this week, I feel more stressed out and overwhelmed. Today wasn’t too hard because I had a test and other class assignments that involved just putting my phone away. I also use social media to stay updated on news or current events, so because I didn’t have that today, I heard about the school shooting by my mom telling me when she got home. From there, I began searching more about it on Google where I read a few articles. It was almost harder to hear about it through my mom asking if I was OK than just finding out by myself.

 

Kathleen:

   Tonight I had practically no homework and my night was not productive at all. I laid in my bed and watched Ben Platt and The Politician videos on YouTube. Today, I just got tired of not being able to text my best friend (because we mostly just communicate through Instagram) and look at Twitter news. Also, my Algebra score came back and turns out I got a much better grade than Schoology originally had said. (Schoology is often wrong and so my teacher goes back and corrects our grades usually a day after we take the test). I was really proud of myself and I do think I did that well because I wasn’t on social media. I’m ready to redownload Twitter. I’m not going to get any Twitter notifications anymore though, maybe that will help me to not spend too much time on it.

Friday

Crosslin:

Today was my last, and easiest, day without social media. Knowing that I could get on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok tonight kept me motivated throughout the day. However, when I finally downloaded all of my social media apps back tonight, I felt like I had not missed much. It felt almost silly that I had at one point felt like I needed four apps on my phone to survive. I now feel that I do not base a majority of my happiness off of spending time aimlessly scrolling through Twitter or TikTok. It was almost overwhelming to redownload these apps and see everyone’s lives from the past week. I hope to continue minimizing my time on my phone in general, but I know it will be difficult when I am constantly surrounded by people who did not participate in this challenge. I feel like I have just came back from a church retreat. While I spent this past week learning what life is like off of social media, almost every other high schooler did the exact opposite. I may now be able to recognize the toxicity of being on such apps, but not everyone else around me can.

 

Eliza:

After going through the whole week, I have learned that I can and should use social media less often. My productivity this week increased and I went to bed at a more reasonable hour because I did not stay up for as long using my phone. I am definitely very excited and eager to get back on social media, but this week has been a nice refresher to remind me to not worry so much about what is constantly going on, but enjoy every moment more.

 

Sara:

Today was the last day of my week without social media and I’m so glad it’s over. I’m glad I tried this “challenge” but I don’t think I will do it again any time soon. I feel like I was perpetually annoyed this week and my friends agree. Like I said in the other posts, I discovered I used social media as an outlet for stress and not having that had a substantial effect on my mood and stress level this week. Even though I didn’t have any more homework than usual this week, I felt like I had so much to do and it felt like I never had a break. To help ease that feeling, I ended up spending a lot more time on YouTube and Netflix on my computer to help get my mind off of things. I’m fortunate to say that I don’t have a negative relationship with social media, however, I think to some degree, I’m a bit dependent on it for a distraction. Overall, I would encourage people who are willing to go off of social media for a few days to try it. I think for a lot of people it could be beneficial to see how your life would be affected by going without it.

 

Kathleen:

Today, I got back in my social media after school. I was debating not even getting back on because of how much fun I’ve had this week. Crosslin, Eliza and Sara all got back on theirs after school and were texting about it and so finally I got back on too. I was excited to respond to Instagram comments and see new TikToks, but overall I already felt less productive. I’m excited to see how next week goes!

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