on my first day of classes last week, three of my four professors said, "i would appreciate it if you didn't use your cellphones, but since your generation can't go 5 minutes without looking at a screen, you may do so but not in a distracting manner."
to be honest i was offended. "your generation." their words were oozing with a judgmental tone that made it seem as though every member of my 181 person classroom was powerless to our "all mighty ruler," the ghost of Steve Jobs. i do think that we are a generation obsessed with gadgets (and gizmos a plenty), but was this overarching, accusatory statement fair? i'd say no.
if i counted the number of times i look at my cellphone a day i'd be embarrassed. i look at it before i go to bed. it's the first thing i see when i wake up (honestly the screen helps my eyes adjust and stimulates my brain so i don't fall back asleep--how sick is it that i've observed that?!), but can i live without my cellphone, computer, etc? yes. i have no doubt. i don't have worth in my cellphone and if it was stripped from me it would probably be hard at first (as it would also be if someone took away my car, my favorite item of clothing, my bed, etc.), but would i get over it? yes.
every summer i've spent at laity lodge, there's no phone service. it's freeing to escape the clutches of social media and texting, and have every single interaction be human, face to face. i don't find that i struggle for the three months being unable to use my telephone. it's for this reason that i feel rest assured i'm not addicted. do i think i could benefit from using my phone/computer less during the school year? well, absolutely. my mom thinks i'm borderline on my phone too much (but also, i don't have snapchat, so i think there's still hope.)
with the admittance of my technology dependent flaws, i want the main point of what i'm saying to be its benefits. when used to one's advantage, technology can create a whole world of opportunity by opening doors.
my junior year of high school was so hard. i was incredibly lonely and felt often as though i didn't have friends (don't get me wrong, i did have some friends, particularly people i spent my classes with) but i didn't have that social support group of community that one needs when they're 17 or even 71. luckily i took that time to invest in my family, realizing how much i loved and appreciated them, and that's when i also began my healthy addiction to the internet. don't get me wrong, i've always been a tech-savvy kid, but my junior year of high school was when i first stumbled upon blogs of the people who are my biggest role models. it's when i found jihan! and ban.do. and bri.
and referring to some of these people by first name seems weird, but at the same time it's cool. i found that the world was bigger than alamo heights high school's 11th grade and that there was hope on the other side of a high school diploma. (there is so much hope. man, high school was the worst.)
i began my love for refinery29. i began finding out who i was through the knowledge of who others were, seeing what i liked and didn't like, and began to invent myself into the adult i will one day become.
but not only that the internet has allowed me a community to believe in myself and take risks! without email, this website, my instagram--i never would have been able to first contact geronimo to work for them. in fact, i wouldn't have even had the opportunity to do any of the things i'm doing now.
this morning i had a realization of how thankful i am for the positive, instagram community. i read an article the other day about how the "digital age" is changing our lingo (didn't followers used to be a term to describe stalkers? people we didn't want? and wasn't there a time where the word "like" held more meaning than "i'm acknowledging that you posted"--that type of thing) but i think that instagram has opened so many doors for me. i've been able to connect with people around the world, and i've been given a voice to show people how i see the world. and others have been able to do the same for me! how cool is that?!
i wouldn't be the person i am today without the internet and my "devices;" and while they may be vices, i think there's a line between healthy fascination and strange addiction. i think we all need to re-evaluate our use of technology, but at the end of the day let's take advantage of the opportunities it gives us.
so, no professors, contrary to your belief i CAN make it 3 hours a week listening to you and not looking at my phone. i've done so the past two weeks and i plan on doing so the next however many until may. so you can put that in your pipe and smoke it, or better yet: put that on your screen and TWEET IT!
oh my gosh that was so bad i'm so sorry for trying to make that joke, will you ever forgive me?