The #studygram: How to use instagram to improve your grades

One of the things that I get really fed up about is grown ups (yes, I know I'm one) banging on about how social media is a disaster for students' grades. Yes, social media has it's down sides because when it's used badly it can be a massive distraction and time suck. However, social media also provides amazing opportunities for students that just didn't exist in the pre-internet age.

I've posted before about all the amazing twitter accounts run by teachers who everyday share amazing articles and resources to help students with their studies, revision and further reading. However, today I want to open your eyes to an amazing student-led community on instagram. Through their #studygrams students all over the world from the age of 13 up to PhD level are everyday sharing their studies with the world to keep themselves accountable, take part in a supportive community and share study inspiration with others.

How will a #studgram help me to get better grades?

There are three key ways that I think a #studygram will help you to get better grades.

1. Support

The #studygram community is incredibly supportive. Thinking back to when I was a teenager you couldn't really share your ambitions and your goals with your peers. Everytime I let my enthusiasm for getting amazing grades or my ambition to get into Cambridge show I was mocked. I'd be called a ‘geek' or a ‘square'. I was given the very strong impression that these aspects of my character did not make me popular.

Now, I don't know if you suffer from this kind of stigmatisation at school. I sincerely hope not. Even if you don't it can be very hard to be completely open about your ambitions, your grades and your goals without coming across as big-headed.

You don't need to worry about this in the #studygram community.

Over the new year period #studygrammers have been sharing their goals for 2017. I've seen people share things from the desire to read 50 books this year to proudly and determinedly proclaiming that this is the year they apply to Oxford. You don't have to be shy about your goals in this community.

You also don't have to be shy about sharing your grades, good or bad, your achievements and your disappointments. This peer led community is full of support and advice. I literally haven't seen a nasty comment on a post. It's all helpful, supportive and genuine.

2. Inspiration

One of the commonest complaints I hear from my readers and clients is that they can't get motivated to study. Well, a little dose of inspiration is really helpful to get you motivated.

If you log-in to instagram in your un-motivated state aiming to procrastinate away a few minutes before you hit the books what could be more inspiring that seeing in your feed post after post of beautifully presented revision notes, homeworks and bullet journal spreads? You'll soon be inspired (or shamed) into hitting your own books so that you can post your own picture of your achievements.

3. Accountability

Something that many of my clients benefit from (and one of the reasons that they work with me) is accountability. A #studygram can provide some accountability for you. If you declare that you're going to post one study picture per day every day until your exams that's going to force you to study and stay accountable to your followers and friends on instagram. It's worth a go, surely?

What is a #studygram?

A #studygram is an instagram account where you share your studies.

What should I post on my #studygram?

Most of the posts are of your notes, your stationery (stationery hauls of nice pens and notebooks are often shown off for admiration), and bullet journals (a really popular and flexible way to plan and monitor your life).

What should my #studygram user name be?

Most #studygrams use the word ‘study' somewhere and somehow in their user name. For example, @studyign_com, @serioustudies or @teaandstudy. The great thing about using this model for a username is that you can stay completely anonymous, so if you want to keep your instagram identity separate from your real-world identity (maybe because of bullying or being stigmatised for being too clever) then you can.

How can I get other #studygrammers to follow me?

You get other #studygrammers to follow you by doing three things:

  • Posting regularly
  • Using the hashtags that are popular in the community
  • Interacting with other #studygrammers by following them, liking their posts and leaving helpful, supportive and inspiring comments on their posts.

You can also take part in monthly challenges run by the bigger #studygrammers or #100daysofproductivity.

In this blog post from @studyign_com there are lots of #studygram accounts to check out, follow and give you an insight into the #studygram community.

What other hashtags can I use?

I've discovered a whole load of other hashtags that you can use to get yourself found by the #studygram community. You can copy and paste this list into your first post!

#studytips #studyblr #study #studying #studygram #studyhard #studytime #studymotivation #studylife #studystudy #studyblog #study_time #studygram #studygrammer #studytube #studyspo #studyaccount
Some of these tags do mean specific things:
#studyspo – study inspiration (there's a full explanation of the origin of this tag in this post)
#studyblr – that means you also share your study stuff on tumblr
#studytube – you have a youtube study account
I think the others are all pretty self-explanatory.

A word of warning

Whilst I think the #studygram world is a wonderful, wonderful place I also want to give you a word of warning.

The culture of this world is very much about beautifully presented notes and bullet journals. There's huge emphasis on beautifully hand-lettered headings and stunningly beautiful diagrams. While this is all lovely and very instagrammy (I just made that word up!) I don't think it's necessarily conducive to productive studying where you're learning deeply.

If you start a #studygram your focus should always be on the quality of your learning, not the quality of your instagram feed and the number of followers you have. Be very clear about your goals for your account when you start it, maybe even stating them in your first post, so you don't become distracted by vanity goals that don't actually serve your broader ambition.

My suggested goals for your #studygram are:

  • To be part of a supportive community
  • To inspire others and be inspired to work hard
  • To be publicly accountable for your study goals

Of course you can reword these and adapt them for you, but I'd be doing your a disservice if I didn't make this clear here. Otherwise, your #studygram could become the distraction that gives social media a bad name.

Over to you

Do you think a #studygram would help you to stay on track with your studies? Do you like the idea of becoming part of this wonderful community? If the answer is yes, don't hesitate and start your #studygram today.

If you've already got a #studygram I'd love hear your thoughts and advice about the community in the comments below. I'd also love to follow you so leave a link to your account in the comments or come and say hello on my profile, @lucycparsons.

If you do start one I'd love to know about it. Either tag me in your first post, (@lucycparsons), or come and comment on one of my posts to let me know you've started your #studygram. You could also leave a link to your #studygram in the comments below – then everyone who reads this post can come on over to instagram and follow you and be a part of your community.

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