The social media effect

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

A decade ago the answer would have been somewhere between, brushing your teeth and having a cup of coffee.

Skip to 2018 and it would come as no surprise that the answer would most likely be, scrolling through one of the various social media apps installed on our devices.

Yes I am guilty of this.

Every morning without fail at approximately 8:30am, I reach for my phone and begin to scroll through my Instagram feed, which is flooded with influencers and their seemingly perfect lives. 30 minutes fly by and I’m left in a destructive cycle of comparison and feelings of unworthiness. I am addicted to my toxic relationship with Instagram and I am not alone. In August 2017, Instagram reported 500 million daily users, which is only forecasted to grow further more.

This increased use of Social media over the past few years has warped our perception of reality. The lines distinguishing the boundaries between what is real and what is not, have become increasingly blurred due to the fact that we now have the ability to construct our identity and the way we are perceived within our virtual communities.

What we tend to forget is that social media users only post what they want their followers to see, in the process constructing somewhat of the ‘perfect life’. We aren’t present for their bad days, so to us they simply do not exist. This evidently leads to feelings of guilt, embarrassment and incompetence, as our life isn’t as flawless as the ones we see fabricated for social media. We are constantly comparing our real everyday lives to a purposefully constructed digital version, which can evidently have a detrimental effect on our mental health.

We are all human and have existed well before social media was ever a thing. Bad days are nothing to be ashamed of, everyone has them regardless of whether they are documented or not. I don’t have all the answers but we need to start living and embracing each element of our lives no matter how flawed or imperfect they may seem.

Dealing with unemployment after University

The U word

Unemployment is unfortunately something all of us have, or will one day have to experience.  My first encounter with unemployment came straight after I had left university. Stuck in an awkward situation of not having experience whilst not being granted the opportunity to gain experience, did nothing to improve the situation.

I figured as the majority of third years have now finished University, it would be a good time to share a few tips centred around the way in which I dealt with unemployment.

Please note that I am by no means an expert at this, I am just sharing the things that I found useful in the hopes that it might help at least one person.

So you’re unemployed

For some, unemployment may feel like the end of the road before the journey has even begun. What we need to understand is that it is only the beginning, and we need to embrace it. By embrace, I don’t mean to binge watch Netflix for hours upon end (as tempting as it may seem haha), but to make good use of the 24 hours a day we are gifted, by doing the things that we otherwise wouldn’t have time for when working a full-time job.

Tip 1: Learn a language

Having an additional language is such an amazing skill. Not only does it look great on your CV, it also helps to strengthen your memory, as you’ll be learning new words and phrases. Not to mention you’ll also have an excuse to visit the country and put your new language skills to the test.

Duolingo is a great free tool used to help with the basics and can be accessed on a wide range of devices, it is made up of short yet challenging exercises proven to give you that head start to gaining fluency.

In addition to Duolingo there are a bunch of podcasts and YouTube videos that can be used to further enhance your language learning.

Tip 2: Start a blog/Build a portfolio

If like me you are looking to get into the creative industry, then this is a very important step. Most companies ask for a compilation of your work so it’s good to have this more or less ready in advance. Start off by taking a look at those who are already in your desired industry and pull inspiration from them.

WordPress and Wix are good places to host digital portfolios/blogs and are free to create.

Tip 3: Enrol in free online classes

Online classes are a great way to pass the time whilst also expanding your knowledge.

Websites such as Future Learn and OpenLearn offer a wide range of free online classes at different levels. The course you choose is completely up to you, whether you want to do something aligned with your desired career, or study something for the fun of it, the choice is yours.

Tip 4: Travel

This list would not have been complete without the inclusion of travelling

If you have the financial capability to do so, then travel as much as you can. Life is too short and the world is too big to spend it in one place. Who knows when you will next get the opportunity to travel the world. In most organisations you only get around 23 days off per year, which isn’t a lot when you come to think of it.

If finances are an issue, then it is worth considering a working holiday visa. More details can be found on the Bunac website.

That’s all for now

If you’ve made it this far, then thank you so much for reading. Hopefully you have found this useful. If you have any more tips or suggestions then please feel free to leave them in the comments 🙂