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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Consider scrolling less this finals season

 Limiting your social media usage can be beneficial to your academics and mental health




As we head into the last few weeks of the quarter, many students’ study habits fall apart as their motivation and energy levels drop. At the same time, with finals on the horizon, stress levels begin to rise and their mental health suffers.

During this stage of the quarter, students may look for a distraction, and many turn to social media. Apps such as TikTok and Instagram are entertaining sites where students lose track of time mindlessly scrolling through viral videos and photos, neglecting their academic obligations.

This is completely understandable as 10 grueling weeks at a prestigious university can take a toll on your mental health. However, spending too much time on these apps, even though it might feel like a break from schoolwork, can be detrimental. In fact, it is proven that social media is associated with heightened anxiety and depression.

Further, students who use these apps might experience FOMO (the fear of missing out) which refers to the perception of others living better lives or having better experiences, and can ultimately affect self-esteem. We live in a world where everything is digitally documented; everyone seems to be looking for every viral moment to post in hopes of gaining traction to their social media account, or even just to impress their friends. Constantly seeing the highlights of other peoples’ lives can make your own feel underwhelming.

While it’s impossible to expect everyone to stop using social media, you can limit how much time you spend scrolling, especially when finals are nearing. Turning off your notifications is an effective way to limit your time scrolling on TikTok or Instagram. This will eliminate the need to pick up your phone and respond to notifications from these apps. 

 Another way to decrease mindless time spent on social media is to set a screen time limit on particular apps. It’s easy to spend many hours on social media throughout the week without even noticing. For example, one member of the Editorial Board wasted an hour and a half on social media apps each day last week. Limiting your screen time will allow you to do other activities that will leave you feeling rejuvenated rather than drained, like going on walks or reading books. 

Even taking a few days off of social media can benefit your mind by allowing you to live in the moment. Without the distraction of your device, you can be more present while hanging out with friends or even just strike up a conversation while waiting in line. These are actually the things people used to do before smartphones were invented (we’re as shocked as you are).

Spending less time on social media at this point in the quarter allows you to reset your brain and shift your focus to what lies ahead: finals. As we get closer to the circled dates on our calendars that mark deadlines for long research projects or exams, we must be prepared for the most stressful stretch of the quarter. 

While the loss of sleep, long hours of studying and treacherous 10-page papers are inevitable, decreasing your time spent doom scrolling can help you feel less overwhelmed during finals. During spring break, we can indulge in activities that we enjoy most (even if that means spending long hours on social media).


Written by: The Editorial Board