Changing Your Relationship with Social Media: A Guide

September 30, 2020

Have you ever strolled into a crowded coffee shop, lugged your baggage to a bustling airport gate, or walked into the waiting area of an orthodontics office only to be met by dozens of breakfast-goers, travelers, and brace-faced teenagers staring intensely at the tiny screens in their hands? While some of the individuals immersed in their devices may be texting loved ones, reading a Kindle book, or sending important emails to colleagues, many are likely scrolling through Instagram, tapping through Snapchat stories, or refreshing their Twitter feeds. 

We are all guilty of wasting time aimlessly perusing social media feeds. FOMO is a real stress inducer and thus impetus for frequent social media checks, and these applications were designed to be addictive. Additionally, in such a digital age, so many of us have become accustomed to constant stimulation, and so rather than being present and in the moment while waiting in line at the grocery store, we choose to click open the Instagram app. 

I have always been very fascinated by social media, including its effects on the brain and its linkage to increases in depression, anxiety, and loneliness, particularly among younger users. While I still have my own struggles with social media usage, throughout the past few years, after experimenting with various techniques and implementing an array habits, I have changed my relationship with social media so that I now use the applications much less frequently and when I do use them, I find myself feeling inspired and informed as opposed to upset and drained. I am going to be sharing my top four strategies that I took advantage of to alter my connection with social media. If you are interested, you can also read my post entitled Social Media which I wrote a couple of years ago in which I go into detail about the toxicity of the comparison that often accompanies social media use.

Silence is Not an Option | A Podcast by Don Lemon

September 17, 2020

America is in crisis right now. A lot of people want to help, but have no idea where to start. In our new podcast, we’re going to dig deep into the reality of being Black and Brown in America, and explore what you can do to help find a path forward. We’ll have tough conversations with activists, artists, and thinkers about our nation’s deep racial divide. As we look for meaningful and lasting solutions, there is a lot to learn and unlearn. These conversations are going to be challenging—even uncomfortable—but they’re important. Because this time, we get to rebuild America together.

This past summer, the Podcast app was by far my most used app. I love listening to podcasts because they are educational, informative, and also very easily accessible. While I have been listening to podcasts for several years now, throughout the last few months, I went from occasionally clicking open an episode to listening to a new podcast almost every single day. Of course, with my return to school, I have not had as much time to engage with podcasts as regularly as I did in the summer, however I have still managed to find the pockets of time to listen to my favorite podcasts.

Back in May, I shared another of my favorite podcasts: The Daily Show by Trevor Noah. His episodes are actually meant to be watched on YouTube, but he also posts versions of his videos as ears editions. As the cover of this post suggests, the podcast I am sharing today is Silence is Not an Option, by Don Lemon.

Don Lemon is a television journalist on CNN. He only very recently created his podcast in response to the injustices that occurred this past summer including the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but prior to listening to Silence is Not an Option, I watched him regularly on CNN. He is incredibly intelligent, very open-minded and willing to engage with opinions and perspectives that differ from his own, and also has a very soothing voice, making him the perfect podcaster. I have shared this exact same phrase a couple of times in my previous posts entitled Black Lives Matter and My Favorite Books by Black Authors, but it really resonated with me and I think it is very important for everyone to hear: It is not enough to dislike racism, you need to work towards antiracism. I strongly feel that education is the key to working to address systemic racism and that it often serves as the impetus for future action.

September Goals 2020

September 8, 2020

Whether it is the beginning of a year, the month, school season, or trimester, I love setting goals. While of course taking action is the key to achieving any goal you set, I feel that the act of writing down your intentions is half the battle. It has been almost two years since I have shared my monthly goals on this blog, but I am hopeful that reviving this style of post may serve both as a source of motivation for me to reach these aspirations and also inspiration for you to set your own goals for September.

Typically, I set rather specific goals with quantitative elements, as I feel that the more detailed your intentions are, the easier it is to make slow but steady progress. This September, however, I chose to set fewer, broader goals. Part of the reason I wanted to allow myself more flexibility in achieving these goals is because I am about to begin my senior year of high school. Along with balancing academics, much of my time this fall will be dedicated to working on my college applications, and so I want to be mindful of these commitments. Also, while I do have a variety of goals in distinct categories, I chose to simply share my main personal goals. 

Currently: Back to School Quarantine

September 2, 2020

The Beginning of Quarantine

If you read my recent post entitled Currently: College Visits & Back to School Amidst COVID-19, you would know that as of now, my school is welcoming students back to campus for in-person learning. While plans may change at any minute depending on the spread of the virus, students are set to return the second week in September. To ensure the health and safety of everyone on campus, though, my school issued a mandatory fourteen day quarantine for all students, faculty, and staff members prior to stepping onto campus, and another quarantine will take place after students are tested upon their arrival to campus.

Online & In-Person Learning

As mentioned above, unlike many schools across the country, my school is planning to resume in-person learning for the fall trimester. While a completely virtual curriculum was offered, only around fifteen percent of the student body chose to learn online. Even though we are set to learn on campus, the first week or so of classes will begin online until it the school is confident that no one in the school community has COVID-19. As of now, I am unsure of what an in-person academic day will look like; whether classes will be held outside under tents or on grassy lawns, where students will eat lunch, and what extracurricular activities will still be held.