Being in the Moment Vs. Snapchatting it

You spent the whole time snapchatting the concert. I’m not even sure you enjoyed the music.”

These were the exact words spoken by my sister to me as we left the Hollywood Bowl after a performance by Kygo, a D.J. from Norway.

I love Snapchat. Its focus on fleeting content is refreshingly different from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where content is permanent unless deleted. Yet, despite its novelty, I found myself discovering a serious drawback of the app while I was at the concert.

I was so focused on capturing the perfect picture that I had forgotten the mere essence of why I even bought a ticket — to enjoy the music. I had taken more than 21 videos. That translated to a lot of time spent on my phone screen when I really should have been watching the performance.

This is not to undermine Snapchat’s value as a social media platform. Unlike Instagram, which is more often than not a collection of one’s best moments, Snapchat provides a more realistic picture of daily life. I’ve sent snaps of myself stressing over exams, impending work, or even when I was having a bad hair day. I wouldn’t do the same on Facebook or Instagram.  Furthermore, Snapchat allows for a deeper connection between you and those that you send ‘snaps’ too. Unlike text messages, it is predominantly picture-based, thus bringing in a visual element which is sometimes more personal than plain text.

Perhaps my real problem with Snapchat is what it’s become. I find myself attending social events for the sole purpose of posting it on snapchat — so people know I’m having fun. It’s developed into a vehicle for peer pressure and has led to a fear of missing out, or “FOMO.”

Social media is a powerful tool within limits. Sometimes, you’re better off being in the moment than capturing it on your device. Pictures or videos are not the only source of proof that you’ve attended an event.

Memories exist, too.

Coping with Homesickness

I took a plane from Chennai, India armed with two carry-on suitcases and a VISA that confirmed my attendance to Claremont McKenna College. I landed in a country where the culture was foreign, interactions were different, and accents were alien.

I was fortunate to have my parents to ease my transition but that safety net was lost on day two of orientation, when they headed back to India. Orientation week was a blur of new faces, activities, and discussions where I had little time to breathe. But, as soon as it ended, I was lost.

In other words, I was homesick.

“Homesickness is not merely missing a house; rather, it encapsulates a wide variety of emotions, feelings, and warmth that one associates with a place,” says clinical psychologist Josh Kaplow [and make his name a link to the article]

I agree. I missed the humidity, sounds of traffic, my native language, my extended family, and the warmth of people that I grew up with. As an incoming international freshman, this was heightened. I experienced anxiety, difficulty with communication, and even a loss in appetite – all common symptoms of homesickness.

As a sophomore,  I no longer experience homesickness. I do miss my parents; however, I am lucky to have found my own niche at CMC . For those who continue to struggle with homesickness, here are a few helpful tips that helped me get through it:

  1. It is important to call your parents but not too often. It’s always good to touch base with them but you need to establish your independence, too
  2. Don’ot be afraid of seeking help.Talk to a counselor or a friend if you are unable to cope or are experiencing any kind of physical or psychological difficulties
  3. Try to get involved on campus. This will allow you to immerse yourself into the campus culture while also getting to meet new people
  4. Put yourself out there, talk to people, and always try to maintain a positive attitude.

There is no easy fix to homesickness. A tendency to miss home is natural feeling. But, by being patient, positive, and being willing to seek help, you might find yourself slowly adapting to a new environment.

It’s hard to completely replace a home, but it’s not impossible to find your space in a new city, country, college, or continent.