Living Offline Connects Us More Than It "Disconnects" Us

Living Offline Connects Us More Than It "Disconnects" Us

I had the opportunity to spend the last three-and-a-half weeks inside the National Radio Quiet Zone and came back feel refreshingly connected (pun intended).


Nestled in the heart of the Monohagela National Forest in West Virginia is the National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ) - a 13,000 square mile zone where you won't hear the familiar pings and rings of your electronic devices. Created to protect radio telescopes from interference by electromagnetic waves, the NRQZ is home to the world's largest steerable object - the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The GBT is used to explore the universe, including the elusive search for extraterrestrial life, but to do its job it requires minimal electromagnetic interference. As a result, in the surrounding area there are zero internet service providers and absolutely no cell phone service.

Enter the National Youth Science Camp. Located no more than five minutes from the Green Bank Observatory, home of the GBT, delegates to the camp eventually become accustomed to the electronic disconnect from the rest of the world.

This summer, I had the opportunity to serve as one of two delegates from Ohio to the National Youth Science Camp. Here, all 107 delegates explored the challenges and conveniences of living off the grid together.

At first, most of us dwelled on the obvious inconveniences of living offline. For starters, it meant being unable to register for college classes for the fall, missing out on World Cup updates, being unable to keep up with our loved ones, not being able to find out which team would acquire LeBron James in the off-season, and being unable to contact the outside world in case the camp was really an organ harvesting scheme.

However, the rich diversity of nature and cornucopia of outdoor activities available in West Virginia quickly dissipated those inconveniences. About a week later, everyone was collectively hit with a wave of homesickness, and that's where the greatest challenge of living offline arose: we couldn't FaceTime or call up our parents or friends, but soon, we found out it was for the best. For probably the first time in my life, I hand wrote a letter, bought a stamp and then mailed it. It's a pity that post offices are on their way out because the handwritten letter read more genuinely and thoughtfully than any email I've composed.

In fact, at camp, there was something refreshing about not having to respond to emails or meet deadlines. Not having to keep track of a calendar or creating a daily schedule is refreshingly blissful in contrast to our stressful, meticulously scheduled lives.

So, if you're here for the abridged version, here are a few lessons I've learned from living offline that I encourage you to adopt:

- It might take a little longer, but trust me when I say that anything handwritten is more meaningful.

- Inconveniences magically disappear if you keep yourself busy.

- Avoiding blue light before sleeping actually works!

- Appreciate the gift of nature as often as you can.

- Fruitarian Diet - Yup. Low-calorie diets - Sure. Internet Diet? Why not?

- Most importantly: be wary of potential organ harvesting schemes in the NRQZ!

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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10 TV Shows You Need To Watch On Hulu

Hulu is slept on


I have recently moved to watch shows and movies on Hulu and Netflix. Hulu has a lot of great shows and movies to offer that aren't on Netflix. While Netflix is still great, Hulu is definitely starting to grow on me. Here are some shows that I have watched or have started watching on Hulu that I think are pretty great!

1. 11.22.63

If you love James Franco and Stephen King, you'll love this show. The first episode is a bit long, but all the other episodes are only 45 minutes. The plot line is pretty interesting. I also like that it doesn't tell you everything, it shows it to you and you piece things together.

2. The Act

The fact that this show is based on a true story is just insane. The acting is really great, especially if you watch actual videos of Gypsy, Joey King does a great job.

3. Castle Rock

Another Stephen King masterpiece. This show is riveting and really makes you think about what the truth is in the context of the story, and brings in some ethical questions.

4. Future Man

I've only recently started this but it's pretty interesting and funny.

5. The O.C.

The O.C. (TV Series 2003–2007) - IMDb

This show was great. Sometimes it was a bit annoying, but it is a classic show from the early 2000s. You really become invested in all the characters and your opinion may change on some characters because they grow and develop throughout the show.

6. The Handmaid's Tale

If you've read the book, you should definitely watch the show.

7. Obsession: Dark Desires

I just love true crime stories and this really dives deep into crime stories and the darkest parts of humanity.

8. Intervention

This show can be really sad or frustrating, but I think it's good for people to see the reality of addiction.

9. Smallville

Smallville (2001-2011)

I also started this one very recently and I've always wanted to watch it. It can be cheesy but it's pretty entertaining.

10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This is a great show if you want to laugh. I love all of the characters and everything they bring to the table.

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