Finding Your Voice

By: Jordan Colon

Greetings NLU Community,

I would like to introduce the “Finding Your Voice” blog at NLU. This blog series will feature different members of the NLU community reflecting on issues important to them during a time of profound uncertainty. Some blogs will focus on how members of our community are working through COVID, others will revolve around this era of political activism. To put it simply, this is a space for us to share how we are experiencing life in COVID.

Living Without Social Media

For those who know me, you know that I am an extrovert. I always like to remind people that I am extroverted in the original sense of the word, in that I get my energy from being with people (i.e., not so much the kind of person who wants to walk up to random strangers to chat or shoot glitter out of my mouth). It was odd to me, then, when I felt compelled to remove myself from social media. Throughout the pandemic, particularly as social isolation measures have been enforced, I initially clung to social media as a way to feel connected with other people. I’m not sure if this ever worked to be honest, though. While I spent hours scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I felt connected with people on a surface level. I could see how they were spending their time, what new hobbies they were picking up and of course, as the world continued to plunge into chaos, a constant reminder of the inequalities that our black brothers and sisters were facing on an almost daily basis.

I have described to many friends that throughout this summer I often felt that I did not have the time to process what was going on — for example, I was still processing the murder of Ahmaud Arbery when I was presented with the death of George Floyd. All of this, coupled with the struggle I was having on a personal level to just try and feel like myself during this time of social isolation, was too much. What was someone like me, who needs to be around people to get energy, supposed to do to fulfill that need? It came to me after a while that I was not getting what I was looking for from social media. The sense of connection to people that I was hoping for didn’t come, and the constant access to information was just feeding into my emotional exhaustion.

About a month ago I decided that I would get off of social media. My initial goal was for just a week. An opportunity to clear my mind and try to refocus on what it is I needed. At this point I have slowly started returning to social media. I have found that Instagram is fine for my mental health, whereas I am not quite ready to return to twitter where I get most of my news. Perhaps most interesting about COVID life for me is that each step of the way I have found I have to be patient with myself and really work diligently to try to figure out what I need to survive this. What works for me now may not work for me in a month and, while frustrating, that is ok.

All this is meant to say that many of us are struggling with life during COVID. If you are struggling that’s completely ok. I’ve had lots of ups and downs so far and anticipate that I will have quite a few more. The biggest lesson I’ve learned though is that I have to be more patient and show myself more love than I originally thought possible. The circumstances surrounding this situation are already so difficult, so when possible I need to avoid beating myself up over feeling like I shouldn’t be feeling the way I do or that I should be handling everything better than I am. If you’re doing the same, hopefully you can learn to be more patient with yourself as well!

Author: Jordan Colon, Associate Director of Student Development

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