By Emmie Martin
In a society dominated by technology, it is incredibly easy to feel constantly connected to everyone around the world. At the same time, our “Facebook generation” is experiencing a disconnect caused by too much technology. While it’s supremely useful for staying in touch with faraway friends and relatives, sometimes I feel technology is hindering our generation’s ability to have successful face-to-face communication.
Maybe this is just a personal rant. Maybe it’s the complication of trying to have real relationships over the Internet, or maybe it’s my frustration with people who text at dinner, though I admit that I’m guilty too. Sometimes all I want to do is delete my Facebook account, turn my phone off, and live completely tech-free. So why not do it? Although I immediately realized the potential problems with ignoring my phone for days at a time (last time I didn’t answer for an extended period of time my mother was just about ready to put my face on a milk carton), I decided that getting away from the computer was feasible. I limited myself to computer use only for checking SU e-mail, writing papers, and completing homework on blackboard, and thus began my three-day, semi-tech free experience.
Goodbye Facebook! For now, at least. I posted a “seeya in three days” status and promptly logged out of my account. So, now what?
When I got home from swim practice around 11:30 and realized that I couldn’t procrastinate my homework by looking at pictures of food on the Internet or pictures of my friends on Facebook, I became productive. Instead of my normal post-practice lull, I showered right away and headed down to the basement to get started on my homework. I had nothing else to do.
It was tough to fight the urge to deviate from my blackboard assignment, but somehow I made it through. I’ve heard the beginning is always the hardest when trying to give something up, but I forced myself to stay focused on schoolwork, and as a pleasant surprise, I was done much earlier than expected.
I can do this. I don’t need Internet distractions in my life, right?
After my 9:30 class, I went to library instead of heading back to my room as I normally would. Staying away from my computer made it easier to fight the urge to use it.
Again, my productivity skyrocketed. I got a week ahead on my reading for sociology, and three days ahead on my Spanish homework. Although I am a diligent student, this was a new level of productiveness for me. After spending a good three hours in Bird, I walked to my afternoon statistics class feeling accomplished. Good work, Emmie!
Around 8:00 that night I headed down to the basement to finish reading the New York Times for the week. Upon completion, I sat and stared blankly at my computer. All I wanted to do was get on Facebook. What are my friends up to today? Did anyone write on my wall? Has anyone posted his or her weekend party-pictures yet?
While the suspense of these crucial questions killed me on the inside, I was mostly just looking for a mindless distraction. My homework seemed so overwhelming, and I wanted a reason to put off doing it. In my mind I knew this was irrational, and would only make my homework take longer, but it doesn’t stop me from procrastinating.
But I didn’t give in. I read my textbooks and wrote my essay, and guess who was done with her work by 10:00? It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing that I won’t be slaving over my books until the dark hours of the morning. With my newfound free time, I even manage to reply to a week’s worth of e-mails and organize my room. My desk had never been that clean.
This morning I actually replied to all the letters friends have sent me, some from as far back as September. And I wonder why I no longer get as much mail as I used to. I stayed ahead on my schoolwork and stayed away from the computer.
Although I was proud of the over-achiever my anti-technology kick had made me, I still worried about what I was missing out on in my online life. I noticed the constant Facebook references made in everyday conversation. References I would normally have understood and responded to, but this week were met with a “what? I haven’t been on Facebook in a few days.” Sorry, I don’t know what one friend wrote on another friend’s wall, and no I haven’t seen that video she posted. It was discerning at first to feel out of the loop, but I quickly got over that. If someone is going to tell me whatever is was anyway, there’s no need for me to have seen it beforehand.
I’m in the homestretch at this point. I’m hardly even tempted to browse the Internet tonight. It was becoming almost second nature to start my homework before everything else. Tonight, I read a book. For fun. Non-required reading. It was marvelous, something I hadn’t found time for in a while.
The Bottom Line:
Going without technology was a nice break. It gave me a chance to prioritize, and get the important things done first. I got to spend more time socializing with real life friends, and less time mindlessly wasting my life away with online acquaintances. From here on out, I am vowing to cut back on my computer use. It has proven too successful not to keep it up, at least to a point. However, in a society where almost every aspect of life is dependent on technology in one way or another, I think it would be impossible to brush it aside altogether. Technology is a good thing, don’t get me wrong; social networking is a terrific way to stay connected and network, but when it starts to interfere with present situations (such as getting homework done before midnight), then I know its time to start cutting back.