A Crisis Of Disconnect

A Crisis Of Disconnect

“'Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.'” So does every occasion call for the presence of a cellphone?
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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.

Why?

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.”

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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College Can Be Difficult, But Trust Yourself, Girl

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes, and times can get tough, but it is SO important to pick yourself up and trust that you can do anything.

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I'll be honest, this school year was one of the hardest years of my life. There were lots of moments throughout the year that I just wanted to go home and get away from it all. I had to be reminded that I have been raised to try as hard as you possibly can, and I was doing that. It took some determination and time, but I didn't give up.

No matter how bad I felt, I stayed and persevered.

Now that I am home for the summer, I have been reminiscing on the past two semesters of school. At the beginning of the school year, I had a much different idea of how it would go. It was going to be "my year," but somehow while the year was going on, I felt that I had been completely wrong. It's easy to come to quick conclusions when life doesn't exactly go your way. Conclusions like "this year has been the worst year ever" and "I can never get a break" were often popping up in my head. My grades weren't where I wanted them, and I was surprised by a lot of occurrences that I never expected to happen (imagine a wild ride). I found out who my true friends are and who I could rely on, and luckily, my circle only grew. Being extremely extroverted, it was hard for me to get out and just do something. Being in this "rut" took a toll on me. I had to make those hard decisions about doing what was best for me in the long run instead of doing something just for the moment. Trust me when I say, this was NOT easy at all.

Through all the tears and change all around me, I decided to proceed to the finish line because I am NOT a quitter.

I decided that it was time for me to allow myself to fully, undeniably be me. I wanted to start doing the little things I enjoy again like working out, taking pictures, and simply just going out to do anything. I started forcing myself to take any opportunity that came my way, and it helped. One of the things that brought me so much joy was kickboxing – talk about therapeutic, people! Kickboxing at least three times a week helped my mood shift so much, and it was a start to seeing me again. I am so blessed with friends who would come over at, literally, any time of the day. Spending time with them helped me more than they could ever know. We did anything from just hanging out in my living room to splurging on a fun dinner. Through everything that I was doing daily, I was learning how to rely on myself. Looking back now, I have never really had to know what it felt like to rely mainly on myself. I did get so much help from my family and friends, but what good could their help do if I didn't want to help myself first?

Even though I felt like this was one of the worst years of my life, it taught me so much more than I ever expected. Looking back now, I grew so, so much. I learned how to smile when times get tough. I learned that it really is okay to not be okay sometimes, and it will be okay eventually. I learned that it's okay to ask for help because we weren't made to do life alone. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. My hope for anyone reading this, you will learn from my experience that the worst seasons get better. I am in such a good place right now because I never gave up, and I will continue to never give up. In a short amount of time, I am seeing how far I have come and how much I grew.

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