I’ve been dreading this assignment for the majority of this semester. I am completely aware of my constant media and technology use daily and I have to say that I am completely content with it. In preparation for this assignment I finished homework early, told my friends and family about the assignment, and cleared my schedule.
Waking up without an alarm on the radio was difficult, but not scrolling through my social media and text messages was even more difficult. I made sure to wear a watch so that I wouldn’t be tempted to check my phone. I kept my phone with me all day in case of emergency, but turned the “Do Not Disturb” mode on to prevent me from being alerted of text messages. As I drove to class in silence, the drive seemed abnormally long. I will admit I was much more focused than usual. I normally do not text and drive, but I might change the song on my phone or sing along to the radio on a normal day. But this day was no normal day.
Sitting through class without checking my phone was a struggle also. I’d like to say that this made me a better student, but I’m afraid not. Instead of focusing on the lesson, I caught myself wondering about what my friends were discussing in the group chat or what leftover Easter pictures I was missing on my Instagram feed. After class I was headed to work. On Mondays I always stop to get a coffee on the way. Normally I would text in my order ahead to save time in the drive though, but this was not an option. I decided to forgo the coffee (I know, I can’t believe I survived this day without coffee OR my phone, either).
Our radio at work is currently broken so I was not worried about avoiding that form of media. Both of my bosses were out for the day, and it was a relatively slow day for sales, so I sat in silence for upwards of 4 hours, before my co-worker joined me. Instead of being on our phones, she and I talked about her upcoming interviews for graduate schools. Not being on my phone and social media allowed me to connect with her on another level than normally. Leaving work, I was beginning to feel like this experiment was a success.
The day before this experiment I had arranged to meet a friend at a local park to run and hammock. This is not normally something I would be doing on a Monday afternoon; I don’t enjoy exercise. We ran and talked and hammocked for almost three hours. I enjoyed the time outside and with my friend. I sometimes feel too busy and rushed to do those types of things. Not being on my phone helped me connect with my friend and nature. Driving home, I tried to enjoy the quietness. By the time I got to my house I was ready for some type of media. I was craving it. I decided to just go to bed early because I couldn’t take it any longer.
Waking up the next morning felt like Christmas. I was more awake and ready for the day. This probably had more to do with me not scrolling through my social net works for an hour and a half before I finally fell asleep sometime around midnight like I normally would have. I missed the interactions I have on a daily basis with those that are not immediately in my surroundings. I missed seeing what my friends at other schools were doing and hearing about what mom was doing and talking to my boyfriend in between classes about his day. I did enjoy the break from unnecessary news releases from our local media and the annoying Facebook requests from friend’s distant relatives. The assignment was not as bad as I had expected it to be. I’m not sure I would do it again by choice, even though I did learn a lot about my media use and dependency. Overall I would give myself a 4/10 in media use. I do depend on my media and online interactions with others, but I don’t feel as though it controls everything about me. It would be in credibly hard for me to be a 1, considering I hope to have a career in social media someday. In the future, I think I will set my phone aside and spend time with those close to me when I have the opportunity. Until then, I will just try and limit my use of media to only when I need it, not just when there is nothing else to do.