Formals should be more than just photo-ops

By Claire Goodyear | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

In theory, events such as formals and dances should be the highlight of our college experience. But let’s face it: Are these events really living up to their full potential, or have they become mere photo-ops?

My mom, a proud Baylor alumna, was telling me stories about her college days. She reminisced about how much fun it was to get invited to dances, dress up with her friends and carelessly dance the night away.

While listening to my mom’s stories, I got a glimpse into an alternate universe where events weren’t centered around photo-ops. Nobody cared about the aesthetic backdrop, the lighting or how the pictures would look on their perfectly curated Instagram feed. Instead, it was all about the thrill of being surrounded by friends and fully living in the moment — a lost art that I think we need to bring back.

In a way, we’ve become spectators in our own lives, caring more about how our experiences will be perceived by others online than actually taking them in ourselves. It’s become less about having fun and more about wanting our followers to believe that we’re having fun.

A lot of these events are put on by sororities, fraternities and clubs. We are paying dues to be there. There’s no reason why we should spend all that money just to stand around and take pictures for hours. We’re surrounded by some of our closest friends; why not make the most of it?

Don’t get me wrong: I love a good photoshoot with my friends, and I think it’s awesome that we live in an age where we can capture memories to keep and look back on forever. I just don’t think it’s worth it to spend an entire evening stressing about getting the perfect pictures just for social media.

We’re only in college for four years. Nobody really cares how your Instagram feed looks right now, and they definitely won’t in 10 years. These are some of the best years of our lives, and we should soak up every second of them.

As one of my favorite fictional characters, Ferris Bueller, once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

So peel your eyes away from the phone screen and admire how awesome life is right now. College is the one time in your life where you can hang out and go to school with your best friends every single day. Events such as dances and formals are the perfect places to be carefree with your closest friends without the stress of classes.

When you choose to go to an event to have the best time you possibly can, instead of obsessing over getting the perfect picture, you’re already winning. In a world where authenticity is becoming rare, embracing the moment is the ultimate victory.