By Jaylynn Williams
Going a week without my phone had to be by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I totally acknowledge the fact that struggling without a phone is for sure a first-world problem, but I stand by my belief that it was difficult. I cried. Multiple times.
Sunday, September 22 was the fateful day that my phone decided that it had “moisture” in it and thus, could not charge. After a grand total of fourteen different attempts to charge it, I poured rice in a bag and plopped my phone inside. I thought that by the time I arrived at my dorm after dinner, my phone would naturally be devoid of moisture. It was not.
I’m a broke college student whose parents wouldn’t pay to fix her phone, so I waited for it to dry. Going a week without my phone was difficult, to say the least.
For the first two days, I constantly kept reaching out for a phone that wasn’t there. I barely contributed to the conversation at dinner with my friends because I was too busy thinking about all the notifications I was missing. I also had no idea what time it was, so I was constantly running from place to place hoping I’d get there on time.
After the first few days of tears and punches to my pillows, I eventually got used to not having a phone. By the end of the week, I learned three life lessons.
- Use a Planner
Monday was a tough day. I went to my drama class, but no one was there, so I downloaded Instagram on my computer and Direct Messaged a classmate. He told me that class was being held in the Mullen Library, not in Hartke. At that point, it was five minutes past the start of class, so I booked it to Mullen. The entire run there, I beat myself up because I had a reminder of the different class locations on my phone which was in a bag of rice. I should have written down that vital piece of information in my planner, instead of just my phone. That was a mistake that cost me to be fifteen minutes late for class. Lesson learned. For the rest of the week, I wrote in my planner dutifully and continue to do so now.
2. Spend Less Time on Social Media and More Time Being Social
Not having social media was lonely, especially as a college student. I was so disconnected from the world, from my friends, and from memes sent at two in the morning in the group chat. When I had to walk to class or the Pryz alone, I wasn’t able to text a friend or family member to make me feel connected to the world. Instead, I had silence because of not having Spotify and my inner thoughts, which mainly consisted of random bee facts and laments about being bored and alone. Day three of no phone really took a toll on me. I cried. Tired of being alone, I became a much more social person. Without the distraction of social media, I paid more attention to conversations and constantly invited people to hang out. By day four, I stopped checking Instagram on the computer unless it was to make plans with someone. Social media is a great way to connect with people, but actually talking to someone face to face is even greater.
3. Not Having the Distraction of a Phone Makes It Easier to Be Productive
No phone meant no notifications or random texts to distract me. It’s so easy to blame procrastination on social media or texts, but without a phone, there was nothing preventing me from being distracted. This made it much easier to concentrate on schoolwork and as a result, I was on top of my workload for the week, a welcomed change from waking up at five in the morning to finish the philosophy reading. No phone meant that I had to come up with a way to entertain myself, so finishing The Goldfinch and getting back into journaling were great alternatives. From now on, I will cut off my phone for an hour and spend my time being more productive with my time.
Perhaps going without a phone for a week wasn’t the most difficult thing in a person’s life, but this week changed mine. I’m so relieved to have my phone back, but it doesn’t have such a hold on me anymore. I’m making an effort to learn from this experience and live a less phone-addicted lifestyle.