The Social Institute Student Influencer Program: Introducing Shreya and Audrey
Here at The Social Institute, we believe that you can’t be what you can’t see, so we are proud to celebrate the accomplishments of young leaders by featuring impressive students who are making a difference in their communities. Each week, a student is selected to take over our Instagram and highlight how they act as a positive influence and inspiration to those around them.
For this week’s Student Influencer takeover, we’re excited to introduce Shreya and Audrey. The two best friends attend Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, and they are the co-creators of S&A Magazine. Shreya and Audrey started S&A Magazine during the COVID Pandemic as a way to inspire readers to be creative and kind, and they have published a new issue each month for over a year now. They hope that the content within their magazine inspires readers to be kind to others, the Earth, and themselves.
We interviewed Shreya and Audrey to learn more about the two of them. Here’s what they had to say:
What do you value about yourself or others?
Shreya and Audrey: We both value creativity and kindness in everyone. These two qualities have always been very important to us because we believe that using creativity and kindness can help us express ourselves and share our thoughts with others. The world brightens when more people are willing to be their true selves and others are accepting of that. This is why we are so committed to inspiring readers of our magazine to be creative and kind.
What are your personal goals?
Audrey: Some of my personal goals are to improve in school, exercise every day, and finish my stories. Although I do write a lot of stories already, I want to try to finish a story and possibly even create a book.
Shreya: Some of my goals are to continue to stay creatively active, dance more, and keep up with school while still having enough time for myself. While quarantining, I’ve noticed that I have been stuck when it comes to being motivated and inspired to express myself creatively. With school starting back up, I’m hoping to maintain a more consistent schedule that gives me room to complete my assignments, while still allowing myself time to continue to pursue my artistic hobbies.
How do you expect to feel as you go back to school this fall?
Shreya and Audrey: After school started, we realized that going back in person was a stark contrast to virtual learning. With school being in person, our schedules had to become a lot more concrete. We both had to get adjusted to our new routines. Whether it was planning out new times to practice our hobbies, figuring when we could talk to each other, or when to complete assignments, we soon found out that organizing how we spent our time was extremely important to prevent us from feeling overwhelmed.
What are the things you try to accomplish each day?
Shreya and Audrey: Personally, we think that each day it’s important to stay active in different aspects of our lives. We try to challenge ourselves physically, creatively, and academically. We make sure to get in our exercise through bike rides and dance classes. We try to express ourselves creatively or even get inspired by other people’s work. We also make sure that we are learning something new every day and try our best in school.
What or who inspires you most?
Shreya and Audrey: We’re both inspired by each other’s work and the authors of books we read. The nice thing about working on a magazine with your best friend is that you’re often finding interesting elements in each other’s work. We usually can take inspiration from each other when it comes to our art styles and photography. While we do take a lot of inspiration from each other, we’re also usually amazed at how different authors can express their thoughts in a way that captures the reader. This helps us come up with ways to write the articles we include in our issues.
How has social media acted as a positive influence on your life?
Shreya and Audrey: While we both don’t use social media often, we do find inspiration on Pinterest and YouTube. From these platforms, we’ve been able to discover some very talented people who help motivate us to be more ambitious and creative.
Of our Seven Social standards, which one would you most resonate with and why?
Shreya and Audrey: Strike a Balance – We both resonate the most with striking a balance between your own priorities and spending time on social media. While it’s important to surround yourself with content that makes you feel good, it’s inevitable that something that negatively impacts you will pop up on your feed. Even if you don’t realize it, being exposed to something for a long period of time will influence you. It can be helpful to limit your time on social media by setting up a screen time limit on your device. Even though setting up a time limit can be annoying, it’s important to realize that social media can be addicting and it’s very easy to be tempted to see what is happening. When you set up screen time limits, you’re more likely to not spend as much time on apps that might make you feel bad about yourself.
If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what advice would you give to him/her about navigating social media or social relationships?
Shreya: Something I would tell my younger self is that it’s important to closely monitor how you feel before and after going on social media. If you felt happy about yourself before spending time on an app but then started questioning yourself and feeling insecure after spending time on social media, it means that the problem is with social media and not you! Since everyone says that social media is unrealistic and you shouldn’t compare yourself to what you see online, you would think that it’s easy to not let it get to you. However, you have to realize that falling into an obvious trap is possible. You are beautiful and talented the way you are. Fame, beauty, or talent will absolutely not make you happy if you are not already confident in your own skin.
Audrey: If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would tell her that social media takes so much time and energy out of you and that it’s important to enjoy the rest of the world. While social media has many benefits, in a way, social media makes you less youthful because of constantly comparing yourself to others and wanting to be different.
Shreya and Audrey work hard to be well-rounded and are embodying our Strike a Balance Social Standard. Their dedication, values, and work ethic are great examples for all of us to follow when it comes to balancing social media and our daily lives. We love to see students using the internet and social media to create and be positive influences in the world. We can’t wait to continue to follow their work on S&A Magazine and beyond. Keep up the good work, ladies!
If you know a student who is accomplishing great things, we want to highlight them! We love sharing impressive students with the world. Contact us here.
About The Social Institute
The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, families, and educators to positively navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology. Schools access our student-respected, turnkey curriculum through WinAtSocial.com, an interactive, gamified learning platform. With solutions for students, parents, and educators, we offer a systemic and comprehensive SEL program through a unique and positive approach. We are proud to serve public and independent partners such as Ravenscroft School, Woodward Academy, Oldfields School, All Saints Episcopal School, Lake Forest School District, Boston Public Schools, and more. For more information on how to empower your students to make high-character decisions online and off, please contact us.