This is a post I’ve debated about writing since the conception of this blog but in the name of being honest and real, I decided I would. This isn’t a personal attack on anyone, nor is it something that’s meant to make people feel bad about what they post or portray on Social Media. It’s merely a collection of thoughts and feelings I’ve had over the past few months on how study accounts are deceiving and how depicting perfection can be damaging.
As a whole, I think social media is deceiving. People are only ever going to post the good things, the pretty things, the things that make their lives look better than they are. I get it. Honestly and truly, I do. After all, nobody wants to see a photo that makes them look boring or lame but I don’t think it’s right and I can’t deny that I’ve fed into that deception.
At the time of writing this post, my Instagram account has almost 10,000 followers. It’s an account where I post photo’s of my studies, stationery and other school related things. It feeds a good chunk of traffic to my blog and having the number of followers I do has led to some amazing blogging opportunities that I’m so grateful for. I also can’t deny that I have a reasonable following on Tumblr, where I post and reblog similar pictures and that this very blog that you’re reading right now also makes it seem like I am the perfect student with perfect grades and that I do nothing other than study.
None of that is true.
I’d be a hypocrite to say how horrible #studyspo is or how bad Studygrams and Studyblrs can affect one’s mental health without acknowledging that I’ve played a part into all of that. I have but I want you to know that this blog and all of my social media accounts are less about perfection and more about motivation, community and uplifting others who have the drive to succeed in their studies. I don’t want people to strive for perfection, I want people to strive to work hard and be their best. I want people to choose happiness and wellbeing over a grade.
There are three main reasons I believe study accounts can be deceiving:
1. They feed into the unhealthy perception that a person must dedicate themselves entirely to studying to get good grades and be successful. They’re portraying an unhealthy image of the perfect student with no regards to mental health or happiness.
I don’t care what anyone says, studying for six hours a day, every day is not healthy. I’ll be damned if I ever let any of you believe that the only way to succeed in your studies is forgetting other important aspects of your life including your family, friends, sleep, mental health, and hobbies.
I procrastinate. I get distracted. There are days that I don’t study because I can’t be bothered. That’s okay! Why? Because I’m a human! Because we all learn and work differently! Because cramming doesn’t work and studying every day would drive me crazy. Because my personal desire for good mental health overrides my need to be perfect.
You don’t need to be this unhealthy vision of a perfect student to be an actual perfect student. Work hard, look after yourself, take time off and breathe. That’s how you get good grades without damaging your mental health.
2. They push across the idea that you have to have certain supplies or stationery to be accepted or to get good grades.
Firstly, stationery or school supplies does not make a good grade and secondly, some of my absolute favourite stationery items are the cheapest around (um, hello PaperMate Inkjoy pens!) and despite the fact that I clearly own more stationery than acceptable for one person (I’m an addict, what can I say?), I want to make it so clear that you should never feel like you can’t be a part of something because you don’t own a certain item or can’t afford the lifestyle portrayed.
So you don’t have the much coveted Zebra Mildliners, who cares? You can still join in on the study community fun. Big deal if you don’t have Copic Markers or a pretty Kikki K planner. Share with us your hard work, your notes, your bullet journal. Share the story about how you studied really hard for an exam and aced it like a boss! Tell us about the teacher than inspired you or the bargain notebook you found at Target that’s a million times nicer than the one everyone’s ordering online for $50.
3. There’s a certain level of hiding the truth in this community that’s quite heartbreaking.
Something I’ve personally noted in my almost six months of being in this community is that it’s easier to lie about having studied or getting good grades than it is, to tell the truth. It’s easier to put together a photo of old notes and say that you worked hard than it is, to be honest and say “You know what, I’m having a crappy day, so I’m gonna stay in bed.” or “I got a bad grade despite working really hard and I’m devastated.”
It’s not because people aren’t nice and willing to help uplift others through their hardships because the study community is one of the nicest and most uplifting I’ve ever been a part of. It’s because there’s this level of perfection that seems to have spread like wildfire and people find it harder to admit their troubles than to ask for guidance or help. People want to fit in, to feel as though they are a part of something bigger and I’ve had too many people come to me saying that they don’t feel worthy enough to join in on the study community because they don’t get good grades or they don’t have the time to study every day and it’s saddening because the reality is, most of us are all the same. We just won’t admit it for some reason.
So here I am, telling you all, I am very easily the laziest perfectionist (with an addiction to stationery) that you’ll ever meet and if I can somehow find my place in this community, you can too. If you ever need advice or help, or there’s something about my posts that needs addressing let me know. I’ve vowed to be more realistic across all my social media’s even if it does affect my following because I’m not down to portray perfection anymore. I want to be real.
This was probably the longest “rant” you’ll ever read and I apologise for it but it’s something I feel I’ve needed to share for a while. Hopefully I haven’t hurt or offended anyone and if I have please, feel free to reach out to me. I’d love it if you could share your own thoughts with me, I’d love to know where you stand.