By Alexis Bell
If you search the hashtag “SelfiesForSelfCareTCNJ” on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, an array of self-portraits will come up. From females to males and freshmen to seniors, the diversity of uploaded photos to the hashtag are seemingly endless. Even Roscoe the Lion joined in with a selfie from the football field.
The College designated Thursday, Oct. 22, as a day to show self-love by taking a selfie and posting it on social media for all to see using #SelfiesForSelfCareTCNJ. Residential Life (ResLife) hosted the event along with co-sponsors Chi Upsilon Sigma, Kappa Delta, Health and Wellness and PRISM.
According to Lion’s Gate, ResLife’s ultimate goal was “to encourage TCNJ students to acknowledge publicly and boldly that we are phenomenal people and deserving of love, especially from ourselves. This is a reminder of a grander motion to take a minute out of your busy day to appreciate yourself for all that you are.”
“Dressed up or dressed down, madeup or bare-faced, flawless or flawed — you are you and you are valuable. These notions do not define us, or add or detract from our ultimate worth,” was the message emblazoned on the event’s Facebook page.
Self-love is a special term, as it holds a different meaning with every individual. Senior biology major Hailey Marr said the term requires a two-part definition.
“The first part is internalizing and believing that one deserves to love themselves and put their needs first,” Marr said. “The first part also involves paying more attention to your own needs. I’d argue the first part is much harder than the second part, which is the ‘doing’ portion. Self-care is whatever one needs to do to positively affect their health.”
While schoolwork is important, it is also necessary to take a break from a busy life and take care of oneself. Hanging out with friends, going on a run, reciting positive mantras and getting a good night’s rest are just a few suggestions found in the captions of students’ selfies.
“Self-love is being proud to say who you are and seeing yourself as beautiful even if someone else doesn’t,” said Mallory Ilves, a freshman deaf and hard of hearing education and English double major. “We need to embrace who we were born to be.”
Freshman communication studies major Emily McClain said that learning about the meaning behind the event made her feel inspired to take a selfie for social media as well as treat herself to a night off from schoolwork so she could relax.
“I think it’s really great that TCNJ takes the time to remind us to be confident and feel good about ourselves,” McClain said. “Not only do they care about our education, but they care about our mental health which is just as important.”
The College hopes to have inspired at least a few people with the event and reminded them to take care of themselves and love who they are.
“For a very long period of my life, I truly believed I didn’t deserve love or care, especially from myself, and I did very little to better my health,” Marr said.
Marr attributes a major part of the recovery process to learning what self-care truly means and embracing it in everyday life.
“The beginning was a lot of ‘fake it till you make it,’ but over time, self-care has turned my life around,” Marr said.
“I know that I could have used the #SelfiesForSelfCareTCNJ message as a freshman, so I hope the campus is similarly affected as well.”
The campaign is a reminder to all students to remember to make time for yourself, and if anyone is in need of some self-love, simply unlock your phone, open the camera and smile.