I’m back. And, yes, I made it.
It’s been about 24 hours since I pulled the plugs on my internet connection.
Now, this is clearly the most difficult task for any student. This is because, like most of us, I have a smart phone that buzzes, beeps and even shakes with excitement as soon as I receive an important notification. These notifications often include a friend I haven’t spoken to for years, a birthday night out, or even a dreaded email from my landlord.
The problem is I have never wanted that endless stream of information to end. It seemed as though my day-to-day living could not continue without a constant supply of social media.
Oh, how wrong was I…
But, why lose the internet?
Well, for me this is an easy one: Procrastination, that one word that has the power to control even the most productive student. It leaves them helpless, as they are lured into an endless web of social media. As a final year student with deadlines fast approaching, I can honestly say this was a deal breaker.
That’s not to say it was an easy ride. Intersperience’s research found that 53 per cent of Brits feel upset when deprived of internet and 40 per cent of people feel lonely when not able to go online. I can sympathise, it is difficult. I had several moments of weakness, such moments where my fingers would hover un-expectantly over the Facebook icon. But, as promised, I resisted temptation.
I can’t do it, I need the internet.
The internet is a marvellous resource. In 2013 according to the Office for National Statistics over 36 million people, in the UK, access the Internet every day.
36 000 000 people.
Sounds unbelievable, right? Well sadly, this didn’t surprise me. The internet is accessible wherever we go, at just the touch of a button. All you have to do is sit on a bus and it’s more than likely you’ll find the stranger sat beside you already occupied: eyes glued to their smart phone, probably tweeting about their day at work. Honestly though, does anyone really care? Probably not. The truth is we’re all guilty of bombarding tweeters with our daily ramblings.
For those of you who think it’s excessive, I’d agree. Unfortunately, I know how addictive social media can be. Believe me, letting go is no easy task.
MY OFFLINE EXPERIENCE
As I lay in bed doing some obviously crucial last minute Googling of funny animals and people falling over I felt scared… really scared. How did people function before we had such a helpful tool and how did anyone ever get a degree?
I sent my last tweet of ‘going internet free for 24hrs, see you soon’ and turned it off. I didn’t think I would have the ability to switch it off, to actually press the button which disables all 3g and wifi connections. Knowing that I could no longer see what was going on in the outside world, watch television or most importantly connect with my family.
But then, I got busy. Here are the things I got done instead:
I visited the beach
I’ve lived in the North East for almost three years and have never ventured further than where the campus bus takes me. So, in an attempt to be more proactive, I grabbed my camera and made a beeline for ‘Roker Beach.’ This seemed like a productive and interesting way to distract myself from missing my trusty friend – the internet.
ONS figures however revealed that 61 per cent connect while “on the go”, using a mobile phone or tablet. But trust me, this wasn’t the case. In fact, without the internet the day went faster than I imagined. I participated in the art of actual communication with friends as in speaking, made phone calls and spent an awful lot of time taking photographs of the seafront.
I had time to read
We all have those habits we do on an evening to unwind after a busy day, whether it is: catching up on TV programmes, last minute homework or making a cuppa. For me it’s scrolling through social media and mail online apps to catch up on what I’ve missed.
But last night, this wasn’t the case. I found myself setting aside the laptop and picking up a book. I’ll admit this rarely happens, well certainly not when I have my laptop handy. I’ve definitely missed out and for that I am ashamed, especially since I love to read. It wasn’t long before I was lost in its pages, and I started to feel freer than I had in a long time.
It was at that point I realized I desperately needed to manage my time better. The internet had become a huge distraction and alluring enough that I could waste away hours in front of a screen instead of living, or reading, or whatever. This break was a blessing in disguise.