What it's like to unplug for a day

Alec Harris, Associate Writer

Image courtesy of Pixebay

Image courtesy of Pixebay

This year, I participated in the National Day of Unplugging. It is a day when people can leave their phones behind and focus on the world around them. The purpose of this day is to help people be present where they are. Some people are doing it to focus on specific individuals in their lives or maybe to reconnect with the world around them. Some people just want to take back the time that social media sucks away. Since It is not a lot of use to just talk about it, I decided to experience it for myself.

The first thing I noticed was how I use my phone on a regular day. I tend to go for it whenever there is dead time or empty space to fill that void. It has become so instinctive to go for my pocket to listen to music or check social media whenever I want to ignore whatever situation I’m in. Since I didn’t have that, I had to find a different way to occupy my time. I decided to try and do some homework and work out a little bit.

Homework and working out became a bit more of a struggle when there wasn’t any music to distract me. When I wanted to really get things done I would get alone and play some music so I could focus on the work. Especially when a task a bit mindless I love being able to relax with music or to chat with a couple people as I do it. As it turns out, I could focus and work a lot better than I thought without music. The ability to stay grounded where I was consistently without interruption was pretty useful.

There is a pretty weird feeling that I had trouble figuring out. When I didn’t use any kind of media my sphere of influence changed. Instead of being able to talk to people all around the world suddenly I was limited to what I could see. The other side of this is that I could influence what is around me much better than before. The world seemed much smaller when I had to see things for them to exist to me.

Not being on my phone also showed me how much other people are on their phones and the ways that they use them. Some people use them for entertainment, some people only use them for communication, some people hardly use them at all and some people seem to never put them down. It’s too convenient to grab my phone and I feel like I have been trained to do it.

Overall it was a pretty good experience. There were drawbacks. I did miss talking to some people that I only ever can with my phone. It was also painfully aware to me that I couldn’t really make plans with anyone. As a one day experience it was awesome and will probably motivate more intentional phone usage in the future. It isn’t practical in today’s age to do for a long period of time. Especially living on a college campus where all communication is done digitally. I do not regret it and hope to take part again in the future.