Social media could be hurting your grades

Stop mindlessly scrolling

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McKenna Premus / Daily Collegian

By Lauren Sussmann, Collegian Contributor

I am in the W.E.B. Du Bois library. The hour is sometime past midnight, and I am on my fifth coffee of the day. The stress is high, and I am doing about ten integrals an hour in an effort to learn something from Calculus II. The days seemed to go by quickly: how was it already midterm week? How was I seemingly doing work all the time and there was limited progress to be shown? I came to a clear conclusion that sacrifices were going to be made.

The first thing I wondered was, how did I get in this position? Why was I cramming at night when I had nearly all day? I am not a night owl; I actually prefer waking up early, so why was I spending so much time stressing at night to finish work that I had all morning to work on? There were a multitude of reasons, but one could easily be changed: social media.

Yes, social media. The place where we are supposedly meant to have fun was somehow taking precious hours out of my day. This was apparent by looking at my impressive — but also slightly worrisome — screen time. Though the screen time was concerning, it was not abnormal. A study done by the University of California showed that nearly half of college students spend more than three hours on social media per week. Social media was created to entertain humans and businesses capitalize on this. Using psychological techniques, we are predestined to spend hours on social media. I would find myself in this loop mindlessly scrolling for no apparent reason. Therefore, I concluded that I would try something different. Just for the week of the exam, I would delete all social media from my phone and see what happened.

I know this seems absurd. How could I possibly remain human without having apps to keep me in the social circle? How could I learn what people on my floor were doing without the floor group chat? What could I possibly do without seeing people I don’t know doing things that I don’t really care about?  How would I go on?

Maybe I am being dramatic. I honestly don’t use social media that much, but when I decided to delete the apps, these questions popped into my head. I realized quite quickly how accustomed I had become to my phone and the plethora of apps that it had. Social media had become one of my primary forms of communication and I was curious about what I would do without it.

The first day was tough. I considered redownloading the apps several times. What if I was missing something important? As the time went on, I realized just how much time I was saving. The time that I had spent mindlessly scrolling had now shifted to being productive. I also was able to focus more on being independent from social media. I wasn’t constantly curious about what other people were doing, and the feeling of only being focused on my goals was a cathartic and beautiful thing. I slowly found myself having more time to do things that I enjoyed and had more meaningful conversations with people instead of ten second pictures of our faces. Overall, what was only supposed to be a last-minute stitch to save my Calc II grade became a lifestyle change.

Deleting social media can help your grades and increase better study habits. This finding helped me see just how much time I was spending insignificantly scrolling. Through finding time that I seemed to have lost and focusing more on my work, I saw a switch.  I deleted social media and found a much more enjoyable and productive life.

Lauren Sussmann can be reached at [email protected].