I read a fair number of blogs. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned by reading the experiences and writings of others is that the challenges I’m going through are quite common. Other people are going through these same problems, trying to figure out how to solve them and survive. I was watching a video about a woman’s experiences going through school with a chronic condition and her situation was perfectly analogous to mine. It was so heartening to know that someone else had gone through what I had. So many things that seem unique to a young college student are actually common to many college students. Sometimes all you need to know when you are crying in your room from homesickness is that this is real and probably a dozen other people in your dorm are doing the exact same thing, even if no one would fess up to it sitting next to you during lecture. There’s a certain validation in knowing that you aren’t alone and that your reactions are reasonable.
Reading peoples blogs, I am always amazed by people’s ingenuity. DIY bloggers always amaze me. How do they come up with these ideas? And every week! At the same time, I realize how often people ‘reinvent the wheel’ because we aren’t connected to others. So many people ask the same questions- how do I clean a glass shower door? How do I write a cover letter? How do I get a mani to last longer? How do I get over a relationship? Aggregating these respdundant answers, I often realize that dozens of people have solved the same problem from scratch. All you have to do is ask, knowing that there are others who have the same problem. Often you don’t have to come up with a solution on your own.
I also see how people build on each other, improving and innovating based on what has come before. Like, secrets to working better and happier. For example, I love to look out how certain nail trends build on previous ones: matte finish to velvet finish. Caviar texture in one color to caviar texture with colors and patterns. This can happen for ‘big’ things too. I’m going to try out some advice about dealing with profs as far as chronic illness, tailoring it to my own experience. Going into my senior year, I have finally found a built together solution that seems better than my single solution. And people, often young women, are trying out these different things! Building and working together!
It’s also strange to realize the censorship that some people impose on parts of their life. For example I followed a young you tuber through her engagement, marriage and then her first child. While she doesn’t hide her child, she doesn’t have them on screen very often. Other student bloggers schedule their posts so you don’t notice when they have finals; often they don’t talk about finals or exams and how stressful they can be. Few college bloggers talk about the stress of finding a job that fits into a class schedule. These silences show a shared discomfort, I think. I want to fill those silences with experiences and the solutions that personal experience can bring.