Staying in the present

By Aurora Lucas

rutorchnews@gmail.com

As I’m sailing on Semester at Sea, there are a total of two hours of Internet time during the entire 112-day trip.

That is less than what a college student would spend on the Internet during a day in the U.S., considering that they have access to it on their phones, checking it it when they wake up, before they go to bed, during mealtimes and while commuting.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn—we know it all. This generation of college students knows how vital social media is to our social life. We are the kings and queens of hashtags, the leaders of selfies and captions.

What if we took it back to the ’90s when our generation actually talked face-to-face and weren’t on their phones or laptops all the time? What would life be like if we talked to the person right next to us on the elevator, or struck up a conversation with someone behind us in line?

Or, what would classes be like without the distraction of a ringing cell phone or someone scrolling through their desired social media feed?

Social media isn’t evil. But it can be a black hole that sucks us in if we let it, making us miss out on so many opportunities such as sparking up a new friendship each and every day.

Technology offers us comfort to stay in our own little world, but that’s not how the real world works.

So what’s it like to be on a college campus with such limited bandwidth?

Strange, yet peaceful. We are able to have so much time on our hands that we do not know what to do with it. We all crave that connection with a friend, and that’s why social media is a big hit. But turning our heads to the person right next to us and striking up a new friendship is a more powerful and memorable way to network with someone. You never really know who the person next you is until you decide to talk to them.

It’s a culture shock to live without Google or instant knowledge, because we’re forced to socialize with one another and forced to truly think for ourselves for the first time in a really long time. The closest we can get to social media is by the good old emailing option, and even that is pretty slow and not always reliable.

“It’s been difficult,” said Kimberly Dinh, a third-year University of California Irvine student. “In the middle of the class I’ll just grab my phone … expecting that instant connection. But I think it’s definitely a good change because I participate in class more, and I’m able to focus on what’s going on around me. It’s a big shock not to have that instant connection anymore, but its OK.”

As a social media geek, I am going through withdrawals without social media. Yes, I miss it because it was fun and exciting, but getting out of your comfort zone, and constantly meeting new people and being able to stay in the present is so much more valuable than getting constant likes and comments.

Who makes memories by constantly staying in social media?

Our generation holds so much power and potential at the palm of its hands. There is no doubt that social media is one of the greatest tools ever invented, and it continues to evolve and bring our generation to unexpected places.

With that power, we need to find a balance, or else time can get stolen from us, with hours passing by, and we don’t even notice it.

Our time is precious, so what will you do with yours?

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