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Why I’m Taking a Month off Social Media

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Why I’m Taking a Month off Social Media

My inability to stay off of social media last summer taught me a lot about how I spend my time.

My inability to stay off of social media last summer taught me a lot about how I spend my time.

Reilly Smith

My inability to stay off of social media last summer taught me a lot about how I spend my time.

Reilly Smith

Reilly Smith

My inability to stay off of social media last summer taught me a lot about how I spend my time.

Nehemiah Jackson, Assistant Editor

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As my junior year came to a close and with summer on the horizon, the last few weeks of school dragged along; during finals week, I found myself overwhelmed and stressed, but also excited, thinking about the endless possibilities summer offered. And after my last final, I knew I was only a few days from starting my job, so I had one goal: clear my head and quickly detox from school.

After my final grade came in on PowerSchool, I found myself with no ties to school, meaning that I could focus solely on work and enjoying my summer. However, as I entered my first week of work, I found myself — during breaks, lunch, and at home — constantly scrolling through Instagram and refreshing Snapchat, waiting for any new post or notification.

Considering the high hopes I had for the summer, after that first week, I could see those hopes fading as this was how I’d spent the majority of my last summer. It was around this time that I realized the time I was spending on social media wasn’t helping me detox from school or clear my head.

So, rather impulsively, I deleted all forms of social media off my phone and iPad, resolving to use my time more productively. After the first few days, my resolve was strong, and I was doing more productive things with my time, so I gave myself a challenge: to go a month without social media.

I failed.

This failure, in retrospect, taught me a lot about how I spend my time. So, just a few weeks ago, with spring break coming up, I decided to attempt the challenge once again, deleting social media for a month, with hopes to spend my free time doing more important things.

Going back to last summer: During the week — while I was working — not having social media didn’t bother me, but when the weekend approached, I found myself with more time. With the larger amount of time, intrusive thoughts invaded my mind as I found myself wondering what other people were doing. 

Those intrusive questions turned into a craving to check social media, and I found myself thinking that if I just re-downloaded social media for a moment, then the craving would dissipate and I could just pretend it had never happened. Despite the craving — during the second week at least — I stayed strong.

However, despite the fact I was staying strong, the craving was consuming my thoughts, and as I thought to why I deleted social media, I couldn’t remember why I’d deleted it in the first place.

One day after work, I found myself journaling (in the stream of consciousness form), and as my thoughts drifted, I wrote: “I deleted social media to clear my head.” In that moment of clarity, I was sure of one thing: my head wasn’t clear.

This weakened my resolve greatly, and with my original reasoning for deleting social media at conflict with the act of deleting social media, I found myself wondering why I didn’t just re-download my favorite social media apps and continue life pretending like nothing happened.

So a few days later, the craving broke my resistance completely, and I found myself re-downloading these apps to satisfy the craving; that simple check spiraled into a two-hour session of me “catching up.”

After the two hours, my willpower was gone. However, I still told myself that I was just catching up, that whenever I wanted to I could just delete social media. It’s been nine months since then.

Recently, I looked back to that month where I tried to delete social media, and I became fascinated with the grip social media had on my mind. And given my interest in psychology, I wondered if that grip was still there.

So I deleted social media, and now I’m eleven days in. When I make it to 30 days (or don’t), I’m going to write a follow-up column covering what happened this time around. Stay tuned!

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About the Writer
Nehemiah Jackson, Assistant Editor

Nehemiah is a senior at La Salle who loves playing soccer and the color green. In the summer you will most likely find Nehemiah working with kids in a...

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Why I’m Taking a Month off Social Media”

  1. Mrs. Orr on April 4th, 2019 7:14 am

    Good luck Nehemiah!

  2. Trey Dettmer on April 4th, 2019 8:31 am

    I like how you were honest about your cravings and failures. I’m excited to hear the results about whether or not you are able to stay off social media for 30 days.

  3. Lukas Werner on April 7th, 2019 9:21 pm

    I have been off social media since 2017. And I am happy to report that I haven’t missed it. It feels nice not to have anything on your shoulders. Wish you the best of luck to it!

    Now because I’m a security and privacy advocate I have to mention the privacy advantages to being off social media, with every hour of you not using their service they can sell less and less of your data, habits, and locations. So cheers to privacy!

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