Welcome to Everything But The Bagel, a weekly space to make you feel a little less stressed, and a little more grounded, just with writing instead of cream cheese. By diving deeper into the reality of life as a (remote) Trojan, Everything But The Bagel will help you get through the ups and downs of your college experience. Through relatable anecdotes, interviews, and my curated edit of recommendations, this newsletter will remind you that you are at this school for a reason, further helping you make the most of your time at 'sc.
Dear Beautiful, Imperfect, Intelligent Humans,
Happy Wednesday! With midterms right around the corner I hope you are treating yourself the way you want to be treated. And no, that wasn’t a typo.
It feels tone deaf getting into today’s column without acknowledging the state of the world, specifically the state of California. The fires blazing just a few hours North of Los Angeles have not only added to the stress and uncertainty of climate change but also to the barriers that COVID-19 has placed around our lives. It’s suffocating––I know.
Over the weekend I felt overwhelmed, claustrophobic and more than anything, helpless. I wasn’t going for my usual morning run or afternoon walk because the weather app advised me to stay inside. Adapting to the confined lifestyle of a COVID-19 world had already done enough damage, or so I thought. But a quarantine inside another quarantine?! Talk about going with the flow of things.
I guess I am sharing all of this so that if you are feeling or have felt any of these feelings, you can know you are not alone. But I also acknowledge how knowing this isn’t always enough.
So what can you do right now? How can you get a grip on your life and seize the day despite the strenuous obstacles that the world has thrown our way? If you ask me, you have a few options:
First, I recommend starting with this amazing dance cardio video, even if you don’t know what an 8-count is. But if a box-step and jazz hands isn’t really your thing, I have another idea for you. It involves focusing on yourself and how you interact with the world. Which brings me to the theme of this week: social media.
Social networking sites were originally designed (or so we’ve been told) to help individuals share content and expand their networks. Plain and simple. But we all know that this is no longer the form nor function that the respective platforms embody. With the help of Instagram stalking and Tik Tok trends, the social media space quickly turned from a world of potential and passion to one of pity and poignance (I really like alliteration if you couldn’t tell).
In 2012 social media was optional, it was for those who took photos or at least loved sharing them. It was for those who wanted to take a risk on their out-of-the box idea and turn their dreams into a reality. It was for those who wanted to post pictures of their kids –– not those that felt like they had to keep up. But as the masses started to accept the vacuous and toxic nature of these apps, people started to play the blame game –– myself included. How could Instagram make me question my self worth and purpose? Why would people design such an evil app? How could they? But we continued to like and comment and repost.
Then we entered a period where deleting social media was the new fad, until people started to realize that so much of life was online –– the stakes of “FOMO” in every sense were just too high. Now, of course, there are the outliers like Emma Stone and Sandra Bullock, but for most of us a social media-free life is an unrealistic and undesirable one.
I have previously talked about the importance of limiting screen time, which is always important, but today I am referring to concrete and intentional strategies that will make our experience with social media healthier and happier. And this doesn’t necessarily mean deleting it. Because believe it or not, there is a healthier and feasible way to participate in social media and maintain a sense of sanity. And it looks like this:
- Accepting the responsibility that comes with your profile.
- Now I have to be brutally honest here. If you want to have a more positive experience on social media, you need to put in the work. Remember that social media is a choice that you made, and with that choice comes an inherent responsibility that many of us choose to ignore. But ignoring it leads to comparison and hate and stress and tears. You have to make the time and effort to cater your feed to what you need. For me, this looks like a plethora of news accounts, body-positive accounts, influencers that help me boost my self confidence, and even monks that encourage me to meditate. Oh yeah, and some of my friends and family, too.
- Remembering that the image is crafted and pretend. Always.
- It is so easy to get warped into what I like to call the “Twitter-trance” or “Insta-infatuation” period. It is important to remind yourself, however, that social media (Instagram specifically) is an alternate version of reality. Newsflash: “Make Instagram casual again” is pretend, and everything you are seeing even if it’s “unfiltered” is undeniably a filtered depiction of someone’s life. It is essential to remember that when doing your nightly scroll.
- Following the right people… and unfollowing the wrong ones.
- If you only remember one thing from this piece: please unfollow the people, places and brands that make you question your identity, sense of self or self-worth. You don’t need that energy in your life and you are saving yourself by making that green button blue.
- Using it to your advantage
- Earlier in “the Q” I talked about the importance of seeking inspiration during the pandemic, which is easy to do on social media. But more than following any person, place or thing, to make social media a positive space you need to self-reflect. Ask yourself: How can I use this space to help me do me? How can I use this space to accomplish my goals? How can I use this space to maximize my strengths and potential? When you think of each platform in this way, you allow yourself to return to the original intent of the social networking sites: a place for growth, connection and endless possibilities.
At the end of the day, mindfully participating in social media is a choice. It takes work and effort and boundaries, but it is doable and well worth it. Social media is a defining factor in how we think and act and live –– one could even argue that our social circles or career paths would be at a disadvantage if we unplug. But going forward, let’s try to use social media to help us become the best version of ourselves. Not the worst.
Wishing you all a week full of mindful scrolling, productivity and laughter –– lots of laughter
Now here’s some of my favorite things from this week:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Everyone you meet is always fighting a battle.” -Plato
“So be kind to everyone. For absolutely no reason at all.” -Me
When I scribbled this thought in my journal last week it was exactly what I needed to hear. A quick search on Google led me to Plato’s original words. There’s something comforting about the laws of life remaining tried and true, even with wisdom dating back to 400 BCE. While people are always hurting, the amount of people in pain today, during a global pandemic, is overwhelming. You may think you know someone’s struggles or be quick to judge, but I promise you, you never know what someone is going through––especially right now. So what if you decided to be nice? Just cause. Sometimes I even play little games with myself to see how many strangers I can smile at or how many compliments I can extend. It sounds crazy, but crazy is the new boring:)
DIGEST OF THE WEEK:
In this episode of “Press Send with Chinae Alexander” Chinae sits down with “Queen of Confidence” Serena Kerrigan to talk boundaries and relationships (specific to COVID-19, of course). The two also get into Serena’s guiding philosophy that confidence is, in fact, a choice. More on that soon, but put in your headphones and press play!
SOMETHING I AM WORKING ON THIS WEEK:
Being from the midwest, a scenic PCH sunset or 70-degree October is something I have never taken for granted. I will often make comments to my friends and family about the beauty of surrounding nature at random moments, even if they make fun of me. But clean air is something I most definitely take for granted. And sadly, the impending climate crisis is slowly taking that away from us, too. Thankfully, the air quality is improving this week, but last week could be a preview for what’s to come. So don’t take anything for granted. Not clean water, or a roof over your head, or a sunny blue sky. Plus, these little moments of seemingly-insignificant gratitude will help you manifest happiness during this difficult period of time.
Question of the Week:
Every week, I welcome any questions or concerns you may have that could spark discussion/ bring awareness to our community. I will respond to the best of my ability, consulting outside scientific resources to answer them to the best of my ability. Just click here to ask your question! And just remember: No question is a dumb one. If you have it, I’m sure many members of our community have the same one!
Write to me here: