Welcome back to all returning ISU students. I want to extend a special welcome to all students new to the campus. My advice to all new students whether it be freshmen or transfer students is to explore this wonderful campus and find your own interests. This campus offers a ton of opportunities. Now on to the topic of this post.
As the finality of summer is finally starting to set in I just want to reflect on my summer and share some of the things I did and learned over the summer. A big part of my summer was dedicated to what I call a cyber detox. I disconnected from all social media and rarely picked up my cell phone. I did it as a response to my grandfather passing away. When I returned home from school my father informed me my grandfather was given two years left to live. As the “busy” young adult I thought I was, I figured I would get around to seeing him before I went back to school. I rationalized the decision saying two years is a long time after all. Well, a month later my grandfather passed away in his sleep. It crushed me. What made me feel the worse was the fact that I never attempted to see him or call him. I thought to myself how hard was it to dial a number considering I had my phone in my hand 95 percent of the day. I couldn’t justify my actions. Then I realized I needed to change somethings. I assessed my life and saw how big of a hold my cell phone and social media had on me. I decided it was time to disconnect from all things cellular and focus on real life experiences. The things I experienced and learned were invaluable.
Without my cell phone I found that my day was less busy as I thought. I had time to spend with my family and actually bond and connect. I spent a lot of my time connecting with members of my family I rarely see or talk to. I reconnected with my half sister whom I hadn’t spoken to in five years. When I began to reflect on my relationship with my family it made me feel ashamed. I was so caught up with cellular things that I lost touch with the things that mattered the most. I, like most people of my generation, had forgone personal relationships for social media relationships. In essence I lost my interpersonal self.
Aside from developing better relationships with my family I began to pick up new hobbies. Without my cellphone in my face all day I started to actually read something meaningful. I began to read books for fun. I found out that books can actually be interesting and exciting to read. The more I read the more I was able to actually see the words that were on the page. Books became my form of entertainment. I would often get caught up in a book that I wouldn’t watch TV for hours. Another hobby I picked up was yoga/meditation. For me it was a way to clear my mind and un-clutter my mind. Yoga and meditation really helped me with the grief of losing my grandfather.
All in all my self exile from all things cyber really helped me to develop into a better person. I picked up new hobbies as well as developed meaningful relationships. I discovered the importance of personal relationships and the value of interpersonal peace. I encourage everyone reading this post to assess your time on your phone and social media compared to the amount of time you spend talking with someone in person or the amount of time you devote to yourself without your phone or laptop. How often do you talk to members of your family that do not live with you? When was the last time you read for fun? When was the last time you picked up a new hobby? Life is about experiences, don’t allow your cellphone to hold you back.