February 1, 2016
To some this seems like a noble endeavor: to rid oneself of the most important screen, the screen that holds all the wonders and magic of life, the screen that could run the Apollo Rocket to the moon and back, the screen that could connect the user to people on the other side of the world, the universe (if there were cell towers and life on other planets), the screen that lights our collegiate world. And I went a day without it.
I made a deal with myself. The conditions were simple: 24 hours, no phone. I would use it as an alarm, then it would be turned off and stored in a desk drawer for the day. I also could not look at my computer or any of my friend’s phones. I could have no electronic contact.
I picked Friday. I had no classes and nowhere to be so I felt it would be easier. My alarm went off at 8:30, just in time for breakfast. By the way, my alarm was the the LSU fight song. Geaux Tigers. I popped out of bed, without a shower (yeah, I know I’m disgusting), and headed to the Caf. I greeted Mrs. Ethel as I always do, “What up Mrs. Ethel! How’s it going fam?” She gave me the usual, eggs and sausage. I sat with Chandler Key and waited for the day to get awesome. After I ate and left the Caf, I went and cured cancer, solved world hunger, and brought peace to the Middle East. Well maybe not. (Also, just a little aside, I eventually took a shower that day.)
I want to say that I had some sort of major revelation when I didn’t have my face buried in my phone, but really it was a normal day. I ate, I drove around town looking for an 80s windbreaker and I hung out with friends. What I really learned from the whole experience is how much time we really have in a day and how much of it goes wasted. I was on the move for the entire day. As soon as I woke up I felt like I had to keep going to stave off boredom. I gave little thought to rest and kept my mind on what I could do next. As soon as one activity was over, I did the next thing that came to my mind. I drove to every thrift store and resale shop in search of my precious, colorful windbreaker. I threw a baseball on the quad for the first time since camp, andI took a walk around the brick streets. At 12 o’clock midnight, I took the Trace to the Reservoir. On the way back I hopped onto I-55 on a whim and drove through Belhaven’s campus at 1:30 in the morning. (Yes, I got weird looks from all the security guards.)
There were struggles I will admit. Not being able to find people when you’re specifically looking for them and having to hope by chance that you run into them is rather frustrating. Also I found that you have to sing to yourself because other than the car radio or my record player, there aren’t many other ways to play music.
But this is how I want to live life, always hungry. Hungry to live and experience, never ceasing to be awesome. I never want to look around and hate where I am or what I’m doing. And I saw this when I looked up from my screen, my precious screen where all life and entertainment happens, where I am connected across campus or across town or across the world. When I put it down, a whole new world opened up. I felt let down, though, that something amazing didn’t happen to me. No concrete thing hit me in the face and told me “This is what it’s all for; this is why you’re here.” But I discovered something important when I realized that, as college students in particular, we have so much time, and we’re wasting it.
-Seth Reeks, A&E Editor
this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 7 of The Mississippi Collegian