Incommunicado: No Phone, Limited Internet, 2 Days

As I said I was going to a few days ago in this post, I spent Sunday and Monday without my phone and with very limited internet access. Honestly, it was harder than I thought it would be.

Even though I haven’t had a cell phone for very long, my current life as a college student practically demands it. It’s how everyone tries to get in touch with you. In fact, I missed some important information because I didn’t have my phone. One person texted me about moving a meeting back. (Luckily I was able to get this information from someone else who was going to the meeting.) Another person left me a voicemail explaining that a meeting was earlier than she had told me and so I shouldn’t bother coming in. There were also times when I felt disorganized and attributed it to not having my phone. It was annoying not having my cell phone, not being able to text people, or ask them questions that way, or call my mom up. I didn’t like it.

Going without the internet was easier. I was allowed to go on my school email and I watched some youtube videos in class. The two main issues were that I didn’t have Facebook and Pinterest as a way to entertain myself, and friends couldn’t share internet content with me. Several times over the 48 hours my friend would say “come look at this” and I’d have to remind her I couldn’t look at that funny picture, or youtube video or what have you. It felt like a self-inflicted punishment. I also couldn’t watch Netflix. So on Sunday night when a couple friends decided to watch an episode I had to leave the room. That was sad for me because spending time with others is how I feel close to them. Then there was the Pandora situation. I was writing papers yesterday and normally when I write papers for school I play Pandora…but I couldn’t. So I made do with iTunes and a CD but it wasn’t the same at all.

Overall, the experience was annoying. Yesterday would have probably been a bad day in and of itself but not having access to these communication technologies just made it worse. I was isolated, separated, out of the loop and I didn’t like it. I certainly did my share of complaining.

I did learn some interesting things though. I learned that my phone is a tool that I legitimately need. I am dependent on it, though not necessarily addicted. It was also enforced in me that I use the Internet for procrastination and non-productive purposes far too much. I knew this before, but this experience really made it obvious and just reminded me of the fact.

I don’t think I’d recommend this kind of experience for everyone. It can be pretty disruptive. Perhaps simply keeping track of how and when you use technology could help you to see the times and situations when you use technology as entertainment or  distraction versus actually using it as a tool.

Tell me what you thought of my experience. Do you think you would react the same way?

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