"Letter to my middle school self: put the phone down! and other social media advice"

We can all relate to a time when we felt awkward in a public place, so instead of talking or participating in what is around us, we open up our phone, dial that familiar pass code and hop onto Instagram.

While this tendency may seem harmless, I have come to see this lack of sociability to be painfully common among my peers. But, I am not one to point fingers, I, myself am guilty of this too.

As I have come to know this behavior quite well, I have come up with some solutions. Rather than pulling your phone out of your pocket and scrolling through Instagram, look up. Look around you. Notice the world. Take in your surroundings. Maybe even smile or strike up a conversation with someone around you.

It may seem difficult to log out of Facebook and interact with something or someone else than a screen, I can assure you that there are benefits.
Just the other day, I was waiting in line at the drugstore. I was about to tap my screen and sink into the world of social media, but instead I looked up. I noticed that the woman in front of me was wearing a pair of suede boots that I have had my eye on for weeks! I complimented her. Just seeing that woman turn around and smile, made me feel better. These gestures do not need to be big. A smile, a compliment or a question is all it takes for a fulfilling connection to the people around you and the world!

As we grow up in this age of technology, we must not forget to connect to the human beings around us. We must realize when our phones should be away and when it is appropriate to use them. While you may feel like your Instagram followers need you to post daily content, in the real world, your followers will not matter. What matters in life is the kind of impact that you make on the world around you. While it is easy to have a negligible effect and hide behind the screen of your phone, it is more fulfilling to be present, to be interactive, and to be mindful of yourself and others.