Scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or watching college movies sets up unrealistic expectations for many college students about what this stage of life should look like. Social media is constantly portraying 14-year-olds that bought their first mansion or an 18-year-old’s net worth of over $2 million.

In addition, influencers are continually posting exotic pictures of themselves in expensive gowns and taken by professional photographers. “College life should be fun, glamorous, and entertaining,” they say.

However, when students move out of their parents’ house, many are forced to do a lot of things on their own and work to cover expenses like rent, transportation, and food. Most do not have the means to buy fancy cameras or spend thousands of dollars on extravagant outfits.

And, you do not have to.

People like to pretend and aim to impress (especially on social media). You must recognize your own value and worth and appreciate your unique life.

The following tips will help you find your true self and concentrate on your exceptionality: 

  1. Take time off social media

    Pick a day (or two) and log out from all your accounts. Focus on yourself and resist the urge to check what other people are doing. Give yourself time to breathe without comparing yourself to others.
  2. Give yourself ONE compliment every time you pass by a mirror

    Everyone is insecure about something. The more time you spend on social media, the more likely you will dislike the way you look or do things. So, the next time you look at your reflection, strike a pose and compliment yourself! You deserve it!
  3. Journal

    Write down your strengths, weaknesses, and feelings that are overwhelming you. Once you see them on a piece of paper, it will be easier to analyze and look at from another perspective.
  4. Exercise for a Healthy Mind and Body

    Don’t exercise because you want to look a certain way for others. Exercise for yourself! Exercise to feel strong and empowered! In the 21st century, you don’t even need a gym membership. Roll out that yoga mat, find a YouTube workout video, and BRING IT ON!
  5. Hydrate

    The more you drink water, the more confident and healthier you will feel. Because your brain works hard all day to complete assignments and homework for school, drinking water is a must. You need to provide it with the necessary fuel.
  6. Snack on fruits

    You can indulge but learn to indulge in natural vitamins like fruits for your energy boost.

What’s important is to concentrate on what you have going on right now–studying, working, exercising, etc. Focus on developing yourself and understand that “normal” is whatever you make it. Do not look at teens in movies or TV shows – they are not real. 

But YOU are!