Connect to life, not Wi-Fi

"Sorry, no data or Wi-Fi available."
“Sorry, no data or Wi-Fi available.” Graphic by: Shelby Soberalski | Production Assistant

I recently got back from a class trip to Toronto, Canada for a conference and had an amazing time. I’m a senior studying Graphic Design and not only was it fun to get away for a few days, but I also got to hang out with some of my closest friends outside of the U.S.

Want to know what added to the fun? I barely used my iPhone. I say barely because I still called and texted home to let loved ones know I wasn’t the next plot for a “Taken” movie.
I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding and nice it felt to not be constantly checking my phone. First off, my phone thanked me for not having to charge it every five hours.

The bus ride itself was about seven hours. To every college student’s delight the bus had Wi-Fi, but only in the United States, not in Canada. So once we crossed the border, we were cut off from the inter-webs. Some people were lucky enough to have data packages and some were not. This is when people started taking naps and pulling out books. Gasp! A few people pulled out a deck of cards and started playing Euchre. After playing a few games, everyone commented on how fun it was to be playing a game together and not alone on their phones. Not something you think of everyday.

I looked around and saw more people engaging in face to face conversation and seemingly enjoying themselves. Over the course of the next few days, I noticed this progress. Whenever we sat down to eat at a restaurant or go out, almost nobody had a phone in their hand. If they had a phone out, it was to take a group picture or use Maps to find our next location. Our hostel had Wi-Fi, so everyone would wait to post until the evening.

There were 30 students on the trip and I honestly felt that I was able to connect better with some of the students that I didn’t know so well because my phone wasn’t constantly glued to my face. We enjoyed each others company and laughed, shared stories and made some great memories.

I was able to pay attention a lot better during the conference because I wasn’t getting distracted by a vibration in my pocket. Nor was I so worried about posting the perfect Facebook status about how fun my trip was. I knew it could wait.

So I urge all my fellow students out there to try and forget the electronics more often. Turn off your electronics and go talk to people instead of messaging them. Try commenting on someone in person instead of online, and I’m sure you will get a better response. Even though I didn’t totally quit technology for the whole trip, it still made my time more worth while. If I can do it for four days, I’m sure you can, too.

So what are you waiting for? I dare you to try it for a day. Good luck!