One of the quintessential aspects of secondary education that many students form their social life around, while others engage in moderately when the occasion calls for it - is the party. As a college student, I fall under the latter: one who rarely engages in social interaction offered from parties. Nonetheless, when I decide to partake in such festivities, I mentally enforce the goal of taking advantage of frivolous endeavors in order to metaphorically shake off the stresses, worries, and tasks of my everyday life.
Social gatherings of this sort are intended to stand as a celebratory engagement of connectedness. Connecting through music, be it through dancing and "vibing" with complete strangers and usually with limited conversation due to the drowned out voices amid excessive music.
However, with the dependence of devices such as smartphones at our disposal, it is often too easy for young people to neglect the chance at forming human relationships and creating moments, even if only briefly, as a result of the disconnection brought on from the devices meant to bring humanity closer together on a global scale.
Recently though, this notion of connectedness was lost for me among a crowd of young people during an after party at a club I was invited to following a school function. My close friend invited my sister and I to her university’s event, which was preceded by an after party at a popular downtown Cincinnati nightclub.
Though my sister and I were the only students from a different school, the chance to associate with students entirely unfamiliar to me was exciting to say the least. The opportunity presented itself for every student within the club to unite through commonalities not by the way that we look, but how we may feel surrounded by tangible joy in the faces of strangers and music blasting hits from the 90s which should have felt nostalgic for everyone.
Walking up the stairs to the loft where the dance floor was held, all I saw, unfortunately, were rows of people sitting on plush seating staring painstakingly close to their phones with the intensity of their gazes illuminated by the artificial light from their phones.
While a few people danced, myself included, everyone sat in their positions absorbed by their phones for over an hour. An hour.
For anyone who has so graciously read up to this point, hear me out.
I do not write this article to reprimand anyone who holds their smartphones or other technological devices to a devotional standard, or to sound like a stickler for living a life technology-free.
The answer is simple.
That is just not the world we live in.
Yes, technology has become a staple and almost a necessity of 21st century popular culture. However, this does not suggest that technology has done a complete disservice to society. Technology has expanded the way in which people communicate making correspondence available from our very own Cincinnati to somewhere as distant and unfamiliar as Shanghai.
Human beings now have the insurmountable advantage of learning about the world without having to step outside their doors. This is especially convenient for students like me who long to travel, but understand the limitations of travel due to monetary demands.
Still, with technology’s surplus conveniences and advantages comes the unsuspecting flaw of people becoming all too consumed with what may be happening elsewhere in the world with celebrity gossip, social media, even funny cat videos to miss the true instances in life that can hold the most significance if one is present to acknowledge them.
The message I would like to leave with the readers is this:
The human experience is vast and unpredictable. As people, we thrive off of human contact, which is what makes us a society and a multicultural existence at large. So don’t get lost in a reality that is fleeting and intangible to the feelings and experiences that life can offer, especially during moments of carefree fun and chances to engage with people you may have never been given the chance to meet before.
So put the phones away during a night out. Enjoy the company in front of you, and if a matter is so pressing that you need to pick up your phone to send a text to someone, remember what Ferris Bueller advised:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”