Prisoner To Our Phones

Prisoner To Our Phones

Written By Jenna Cooper

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The familiar irritating chimes of my alarm radiate through my phone to wake me up from my peaceful, all-too-short, slumber. I have an itch that only scrolling through my Instagram first thing in the morning can scratch, and I hardly fight the irresistible urge to unlock my phone. Before I even rub the drowsiness from my eyes, I've already scrolled through Twitter, Instagram and answered all the texts I missed from the night before.

I lazily get ready for class, brush my teeth, and head out the door; my earphones are in and my new favorite Spotify playlist is getting me prepared to take on the day. While walking to class and in class, I idly scroll through my phone, at lunch my phone is never more than a few inches out of reach, while doing homework I continuously check my phone for any negligible and insignificant notifications I missed (mainly to procrastinate), and before bed I binge watch whatever I can Netflix. The next morning, the same disappointing cycle continues.

I know this is a familiar routine for everyone, the fear of missing a single notification gnaws at all of us and it is impossible to not feel attached to the piece of technology that connects us to the entire world. There is hardly a person you will pass on Syracuse's campus that doesn't have earphones in, blocking out the rest of the world, or someone whose head is firmly locked down, focusing solely on their screens. We are addicted and held prisoner to our phones and its only getting worse.

I was talking with my dad the other day, and he was asking me if I had met anyone new while walking through campus or to class and I almost laughed at the notion that that was even a possibility. He was so confused when I told him that it felt nearly impossible in today's society to casually meet someone on campus when people are so invested in the meaningless Instagram posts and tweets on their phone, that they don't look up long enough to even see those who are walking by.

He told me how when he was in college, all people would do was hang out on the quad and talk and meet and that's where he met some of his best friends, whether it was interrupting a group of guys throwing a Frisbee around, or going up to a cute girl and talking to her, there was never a lack of connection and communication anywhere on his campus. (To be fair, it is freezing cold in Syracuse a majority of the year so that is part of the reason we all don't sit around and chat outside as he could.)

I was baffled by this structure of a college campus where anyone could talk to anyone because that seemed so far from the one we have today. I sometimes realize I am so infatuated with my phone, that I forget to look at the beauty around me; the way Crouse looks like warm umber when the sun begins to set, or how rustic and historic Hall of Languages is, or the beauty of the diverse community of people around me.

My point is, I worry for all of us. These are the best years of our lives and I fear that all we'll have to show for it is a couple of good Instagram posts and a few funny tweets. I've seen girls go to tailgates just to take pictures, and then leave 15 minutes later because they came "just for the gram". I understand that our generation is changing, and shifting norms, but there is still a raw charm to face to face connection and I don't want us to miss out on that because we wanted to make sure that our pictures/posts are good enough.

I'd be a hypocrite to say that I am not one of the many zombies attached to their phones, there is hardly a time you will see me without it glued to my hand. But I will say that I am going to consciously make an effort to enjoy the world around me more because we owe it to ourselves to actually make the most out of our lives, instead of just making it look like we are online. I want to live my life instead of watching everyone else live theirs (through social media) and I don't want to unhealthily compare my life to everyone else's. I want to make my life my own, without any regrets, and do what makes me happy; not what would look best for my Snapchat. I think we all owe it to ourselves to live for ourselves and not our phones.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.
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As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs/Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out http://www.redbubble.com for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.


Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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6 Perfect Ways To Start Your Day And Have The Same Routine As Successful People

After some researching, I found what we should do every day as soon as we get up.

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Mornings. I hate them. My dream is to wake up every day after 9 am, eat my breakfast (full of chocolate) and take a nap after that. But, when I read what the routine of successful people are in the mornings, I learn they get up early, eat healthily, exercise and do more things before 8 am. Conclusion, mornings are essential to meet goals and create empires.

After some researching, I found what we should do every day as soon as we get up in order to set up our day for success.

1. Wake up early.

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Talented people wake up early. We are talking about 5 and 6 am. It hurts, doesn't it? It makes sense. You cannot build a company or run an organization starting your day after midday. The world moves in the morning; people go to their jobs in the mornings, students go to school in the mornings. The first hours of the day are essential to accomplish any plan.

Also, if you want to have some business with people in other countries, most of them are a couple of hours ahead of us. Starting earlier helps.

2. Eat healthily.

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Energy. We need energy in the mornings. Eating well is the first step. I know it is easier only to drink a cup of coffee or buy breakfast in any fast food restaurant, but any of them helps. A good meal is essential; you can try oats, eggs or fruit. I like to drink green juice (spinach, broccoli, parsley and apple) because it is natural and good for my stomach. Then, I eat some oats.

If you do not have too much time, you can make a smoothie with some protein and banana. I am not telling you to not drink coffee; the point is to eat something first. Also, eating an apple in the morning can make you feel more awake than a coffee. Do not forget to have a healthy snack for the middle of the morning.

3. Exercise.

I have talked many times about how hard it is for me to exercise. You can imagine what it means for me to think about going to the gym in the morning. The truth is that exercise helps to have more energy and when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins help you to feel happy and experience less pain. Also, if you are like me, and you do not like to exercise, you can start your day doing what you like the least. The other good point is that while exercising you lose weight and stay healthy.

4. Yoga.

Yoga sounds better than being sweaty and running in a gym. At least with yoga, we are laying down, meditating, stretching, finding our peace and ourselves. I like yoga; it is good exercise and it helps us to be better people. Starting the day with some relaxing routines is not bad at all.

5. Start with what you hate the most.

I have learned that if you start your day doing what hate the most, you will feel better the rest of the day. It really works. For example, on my weekends, I wake up, and after my breakfast, I cook, clean or laundry. I do not like any of this housework. But, when I finish, and it is only 11 am, I am so happy that it was worth it.

You can do the same in your job. If there is a call, cleaning to do, a meeting or any assignment you hate, do it in the first hours. After that, your day is only going to be better.

6. A hobby.

Sometimes, it is hard to have some time to do what we like. After working eight hours, it is not easy to have the mood to use our time practicing a hobby, or there are too many people at home, or we have to take care of the house.

These days, I have to go in earlier to my job; I live far, and I do not want to get stuck in the traffic. The point is I have one hour in the morning to use doing whatever I want. It is excellent because it is time I do not have later.

I am not going to lie. I am not the best example of successful morning people, but I try my best. So far, I wake up early (because of my job), and I eat healthily (I am always on a diet) and I do what I hate the most first. I need to work with the exercise phase, but I think I am closer than ever. My last tip, if you do not want to overeat sugar or chocolate in the day, eating some in the morning helps with the anxiety and it is less fattening to eat than later in the day.

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