It is easy to get caught up in the state of American politics. And while it is important to stay informed about what is happening, there is a point where it can get to be too much. Especially when we are in another country and have no influence over it. There are small things that can be done, such as support to certain groups. But it is important not to get too caught up in the madness of it all. When it starts to affect your work and studies then it is too much and steps need to be taken to reduce its influence over you.
I took the steps to “mute” certain words on twitter, and while this isn’t fool-proof and many tweets still get through the filter, it has significantly reduced them. Which means twitter can go back to being what it was before this chaos started a place to research agents, connect with writers, and academics. Twitter is a great place to find community in your area of interest, but don’t be afraid to “mute” and don’t feel guilty about tuning out of some of the political mess that has overtaken twitter in the last while.
This isn’t only twitter either. For awhile it was all social media; you couldn’t get away from it. And, while in one sense it helped to get some work done because there was no desire to go onto social media, it was also extremely distracting. Because when I did log on I was overtaken by these awful comments, by changes in laws that were terrifying, it was like looking at a car accident, you don’t want to see it, but you can’t look away. Social media had and has a unique way of sucking you in, drawing you into the mess and outraging you. But before you know it time has ticked by and your five-minute break has extended and you’re going to be late for the next thing on your agenda. And what you were supposed to be working on is effectively lost.
It has inspired a social media cleanse so to speak, on all platforms. I unfollowed, unliked, muted, and unfriended. I did what I needed to do to find a place that felt more familiar, less daunting. I am still connected and staying informed about what is happening, but not in the way that it distracts me from the things that matter to me: the things I have control over. I saw posts that spoke in the terms of how could they go back to a normal life, posting about things that now seemed mundane, when all of this was happening. It might feel strange to decentralize it from your life, but by taking control, by focusing on what is important to you, you are helping the cause.
By finishing your studies, finishing that book, or that report, you are taking control of your life back, and that is empowering and political. Don’t stop doing what you love because of it, don’t get distracted. Instead, allow it to inspire you to finish what you started, to better yourself and give yourself a chance to make a change in someone’s life. Whether you’re going into accounting or creative arts, you will have the power to change someone’s life, the accountant is vitally important to those who are trying to carve their own path and the creatives have a chance to change perspectives and craft understanding.
Don’t lose yourself in the madness, protect yourself by doing what you need to stay focused on what matters to you.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature. Follow her path on the writing journey at https://deannaroney.wordpress.com/