My first semester of college was rough. Like majority of people know, the first semester is full of stress, fear, and uncertainty. What I was not aware of was the frustration I would encounter with myself. Why was everyone else having the time of their lives while I sat alone on Friday nights watching New Girl for the third time? Plastered over Instagram were photos of all my friends from high school "living their best lives". It was literally the third week of school and they all had their best friends? They all seemed happy…so genuinely happy.
And I didn't.
I continued on the semester with little enthusiasm. My older brothers told me it would get better and I was being dramatic. Nothing but love from my super empathetic siblings! Anyway, I was hard on myself. Looking back now, I do not think I would have been as harsh with myself if it weren't for that stupid app: Instagram.
It totally took over my life. I was jealous. I was bitter, but most of all, I was frustrated. I wanted my college experience to look like the pictures every other freshman girl was posting with her "besties". I constantly compared my personal happiness to the level of happiness portrayed in my friends' photos on Instagram. Winter break came rather quickly to my surprise. Over the long stretch, my perspective was flipped.
People who I thought loved college actually hated it. In fact, a handful of people I originally thought would never wish for break were now transferring schools. Even my best friend, who had been telling me she loved her school, was considering taking the semester off.
Wow. I was thrown for a whirl win.
I was not alone. I was not the only one crossing off the days till the next break. Instagram had led me to believe everyone was great except for me. In reality, it seemed like I was doing the best after all. I did not have any major issues besides the fact that I wasn't as happy as all the girls on Instagram which weren't even happy at all. Of course, I knew of Instagram's deceptions of beauty, but I did not realize the deception of happiness.
Behind every picture, was a girl trying to portray that she was fine. When she was actually struggling the same as a lot of other masked faces on the internet. I went back the second semester with a fresh mindset. I stopped comparing myself to other people's lives that were shown through pictures. I focused on being present and patient with myself. I allowed time to develop relationships. I did not force anything. I did not feel bad about days when I was frustrated. I just let it happen. In the end, I had one of the best times of my life with some of the coolest, funniest, and most authentic new friends in my life.