This is probably my least favourite question of all time.
The hot topic on everyones lips. It's the standard question that you get asked by your aunties and uncles, your bosses, and hell, we even ask each other. Every time I run into an old school friend, or find myself awkwardly chatting to a student that I kind of know from a broadening unit two years ago whose name I can't quite remember, I find myself falling into the trap, and asking them the exact question I know they do not want me to ask them.
You hear it at least once a day, or maybe you scroll past memes about it. 'Next year'. The topic has caught on faster than the Birkenstock rebirth. With so many of my friends graduating from their undergraduate degrees at the end of the year, including myself, it seems like a reasonable question to be asking. But no one seems to quite have the answer. There are so many routes I could go down. Further study? Year abroad? Euro trip? Move over east? Work in retail forever? Move out? Stay home? Save? Spend? Anything but get an actual, real life, adult job of course.
For me, there has always been a very clear, next step. From primary to middle to senior school. From high school straight into university. But no one quite prepares you for what comes next. For when we actually become 'adults'. Never have I ever not had a clue what my next step will be. In conversation with my friends, I discovered that many of them are struggling with the same conundrum. For as long as we can remember, our lives have been an endless cycle of essays, classes, exams and long awaited holidays, which we yearn for, which seem to fly by in what feels like days not weeks or months. And half the time, we waste our holidays complaining about how we are beyond bored and how much we wish were were back into the routine of university, until we are one week into the semester and are already falling behind.
At the end of this year, there are no more 'uni breaks' or 'school holidays' for many of us. That is it. We walk out of our final exam, into the real world. It's both terrifying and exciting at the same time. Because who ever really knows what the future holds? Some believe our paths are already determined for us, some believe we are the masters of our own fate, the captains of our own ship. I'm still not quite sure which category I fall into, and if you are reading this, I'm guessing you aren't either. All I know is that I'm only twenty, and within two months I would have written my final essay. Four different majors, two different universities and two different degrees later, I somehow will graduate on time. And I can't wait to see what the future holds.
Tuesday, August 14: Day 9
You know when you have one of those weeks where you feel like everything is just falling apart? It's been one of those weeks for me. Randomly, out of the blue, a lot of little things all added up, and I got a little overwhelmed. Let's just say, I balled my eyes out in front of a police officer. It's been great to say the least.
On day nine of my digital detox, I thought it was time to give a brief update. As I mentioned before, I never deleted any of my accounts, I just deleted the apps from my phone. I wasn't completely disconnected, I just had to exercise self control when it came to checking Instagram and Facebook on my laptop. For anyone who knows me, you'll know that I am completely addicted to social media. I LOVE a scroll on Instagram, and checking my Facebook feed for news and yes, even memes.
But with every passing day, the need to check both social media networks seemed to decrease further and further. Originally, I planned on doing the detox for just five days, but after an emotional week and weekend, I thought I'd continue onwards. If you happened to run into me in the past week or so, you'll probably have fallen into conversation with me about it. I cannot rave enough about how good it feels to not constantly be checking my phone. To just be a little less connected, a little less tangled, and a whole lot more free.
Scrolling is probably the biggest waste of your time. You do it in conversation with others, whilst watching movies, over brunch, during lectures, on the bus, waiting for your coffee. It becomes a somewhat security blanket during awkward situations, or situations where you are forced to interact with strangers. In a bid to avoid eye contact and small talk, we scroll on Facebook or Instagram. We send stupid, meaningless Snapchats, and even, as a last resort, check our email app.
This past week or so I have learnt many things, and not one of them has been negative. I have learnt that despite the odd funny video, Snapchat basically serves no purpose, nor does it add anything to your daily life. Don't get me wrong, it is a fun app to use, yes. But in reality, it just adds another pointless form of mindless communication to your life - and I find that the people I snap are normally the ones I am texting - and thus, if I really need to send them a photo, I can do that over message. To sum it up - I probably will never re-download Snapchat.
The lack of social media apps on my phone forces me to either a) actually message people about how they are or b) avoid my phone all together, and actually chat to people whilst waiting for a lecture, or even whip out a book. Your phone acts as a barrier between you and a potential friend, future colleague or even love interest. By keeping it in your pocket, I promise you, you will have so many more conversations, you will observe so many more beautiful things and basically, just experience life first hand, not through your screen.
Instagram is the tricky one for me - I know I have to have it for the blog, so my game plan is to simply just log in when I need on my internet browser, and then log out and be done with it for the day. Facebook would likely be the easiest app to get rid of completely, however, when it comes to work group chats and event invites, you're kind of left in the lurch if you don't have it. So, I am sticking to my original plan, and just checking it at night on my laptop.
If I can detox myself from social media - anyone can. I challenge people who are reading this thinking "that would be good, but I just can't bring myself to do it" to try it for just one day. Or even just for an afternoon. Delete your apps, and gain back time for actually living life. The hardest part is clicking delete, after that, I promise you, you won't look back. In the wise words of Shia LaBeouf, JUST DO IT.
I Know What You're Thinking - No, It is Not As Hard As You Think.