Instagram and reading can help stave off the senior slide
October 25, 2017
Senior year has made me regret ever using the word “busy” before in my life. Up until this year, I do not think I had any idea what this word actually meant, as I have genuinely never felt this intense feeling of being so “busy” before.
In a message to one of my best friends who is also feeling a similar sentiment, I said my school work load this semester feels like I’m running on a treadmill that’s going too fast, while blindfolded, while wearing heels, with no sports bra on. This comparison might be extreme, but I have a group project in every class. This is combined with the fact that I have a really bad habit of saying yes to more project roles and responsibilities. Additionally, I have a full credit load, a part-time job and volunteer work - to name just some of the things on my plate.
Adding to the stress of assignments and deadlines, I have recently come down with an aggressive case of senior slide, my dentist reports that I am grinding my teeth, I have developed allergies to my cats and my millennial thumb is getting worse. It is not even Thanksgiving break yet.
To counteract this immense amount of tension and anxiety that builds up from staring at to-do lists that seem ridiculously long, I have come up with two solutions to help alleviate this stress.
One solution is to keep a book in my car or in my backpack at all times. This book cannot be a textbook. My rule is that whenever I am waiting somewhere or have some time to kill, I have to read it. I have found that just by taking out a few minutes here and there to fully focus on reading a book really helps me to de-stress.
There is something really calming about feeling smooth paper between your fingers and hearing that comforting rasp of a page turning that soothes any tension I might have. Not to mention that it is so relaxing to not have any stimuli from notifications and apps overwhelming me like they would be if I were on my phone instead.
The main stress outlet I employ however, is Instagram.
I love the creative process of thinking about how to take a photo to capture the best light pattern that is shining onto the floor. Even the mundane, and probably boring to other people, outfit photos are something I look forward to because they motivate me to dress in something I feel good in and then take a picture to preserve that look and feeling. The creative outlet of Instagram has probably been the most instrumental tool for holding off senior slide this long. This social media platform has become a big part of my life as a way to connect with friends who live far away from me, “influencers” and journalists who I deeply admire, and has even connected me to a brand that sent me a free replacement phone case.
Instagram is a strange and wonderful place because it is essentially a bunch of people creating online scrapbooks of memories and feelings. For me, this platform offers a chance to express myself and also reminds me that there are so many more people out there in this online world who are going through similar things. Instagram can look like a selfish endeavor at the surface, but it is a powerful tool that connects people through beautiful visuals and an expansive support system that creates an online culture of inclusivity and understanding.
I unapologetically love this particular corner of the internet and I will be taking full advantage of it to get me through this semester until the most wonderful time of the year (winter break) gets here.
Lauren Simenson is a student at UW-River Falls.