Opinion: Student spends a month without technology

By Hayley Cargill — For practically everyone, technology is a part of every single aspect of our lives. You would think to take it away would be like cutting off one of your limbs. Surprisingly, being without technology has been more helpful than anything.

A month ago I found myself literally crawled into a ball on the floor in tears because I was so stressed. My parents decided taking away all of my technology for at least a week could help me deal with my stress more effectively. My phone, my kindle and my laptop. I was relieved, yet somewhat dumbfounded. How does one live without technology in today’s age? Is it even possible?

For most people, their phone is attached to their hip and is something they doubt they can live without. I was one of those people. In fact, most of my idle time was spent texting or checking social media instead of doing things of substance, like homework. I was amazed to find just how much homework and speech and debate research I could get done when my phone was absent. As soon as my phone was gone, I realized that I was able to put about two more hours per night more towards homework because I was not constantly distracted by the disruption of text messages and alerts. Another great advantage of not having my phone is not having to worry about drama. Instead of worrying about people’s petty arguments and ridiculous gossip, I could just ignore it all together.

While the loss of my phone was extremely helpful, it has been extremely inconvenient and lonely. If anyone reading this story knows me at all, they know that I am extremely attached to my speech and debate friends from other schools. Nothing has prepared me for how lonely and somewhat lost I feel in not being able to talk to them. In fact, talking to them is sometimes the only way I get through my day so that has most definitely been extremely hard. Now I only see them once a week at tournaments. It seems a bit old fashioned to only talk to your friends once a week, but I guess this is what happened in the pre cell phone days.

One of the greatest downturns of the whole experience has been not having my Kindle. The way I typically relieve my stress is by watching Netflix on my Kindle. With that gone, I actually found myself opening a book. I almost forgot those existed because I had not opened one in so long. Even though I would read books on my Kindle from time to time, I forgot just how much I enjoyed turning pages and smelling that new book smell.

By far, the loss of my laptop has been the greatest struggle and the biggest inconvenience. Having my laptop at home made it so convenient for me to go home and get my homework done. The fact that I do not have it has made me realize almost every single homework assignment requires the use of a computer. In order to make sure I complete assignments and speech and debate research, I have had to utilize the library during study hall and after school, which is the most annoying thing about my technology break.

While it seems like the lack of technology has been a bad thing, it has helped me reprioritize my life. Instead of staying up late to check social media sites, I force myself to go to bed by a certain time so I can actually survive the next day. It has also given me better time management skills. Now, I get all of my homework done at a reasonable hour instead of staying up into late hours of the morning to complete it. My favorite part of being without technology is I actually get enough sleep. Instead of staying up late to check social media feeds, I force myself to go to bed at a certain time and I now feel awake and alert throughout the whole school day.

If you are feeling stressed, a complete technology wipeout may be a little bit of overkill, but if you take some time to set away all of the distractions for a while, you may find you may not need it as much as you think and that it can be helpful in improving your time management skills. You may also find that sleep is actually a thing that exists.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]