by Andreanna Hardy
Challenge: if you are an iPhone user and currently have it with you, take it out. Go into settings, then battery, then click the small clock, next to “Last 24 Hours” and “Last 7 Days”. That is the amount of time you have spent on your apps within the past day or week.
For me, that used to be a lot of time. Scrolling, mindlessly and endlessly, through tweets and pictures. It was a comforting habit. Walking in the halls at school to avoid eye contact. Standing in line waiting for lunch. “Oh, just for ten minutes” during a free period. Before I had even realized it, scrolling was dominating the majority of the (already limited) free time at school.
But after seeing how much time I actually spent, down to the hour and minute, I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time in school anymore. I valued my free time too much to let it be dominated by pointless information. So last year I decided to leave my phone in my car during school. I wanted to devote my down time at school, to well, school. I wanted to connect with the friends in front of me, instead of multi-tasking, trying to connect with other friends through social media platforms.
A year later, I still leave my phone in my car at school because it has tremendously impacted my focus during the school day. I hadn’t realized how much time I wasted until I started leaving my phone behind. I’m more engaged in my classes and with my friends, and more observant and more mindful of my surroundings. I do not miss bringing my phone into school one bit.
And if you’re reading this feeling defensive, thinking that this article doesn’t apply to you because you can control yourself or don’t think it will make a difference, I encourage you to observe yourself and others. How often do you multi-task between working on homework and scrolling during your free periods? How often do you respond to texts and snaps during class? Look around the next time you’re sitting at lunch. How many people are actually engaged in the conversation? How many are partly engaged, but also texting somebody or snapchatting them? How many people are so entranced, switching between Snap, Twitter, and Insta? How many times do you pull out your phone so you can avoid eye-contact with your peers or teachers in the hallways or waiting in line in the bathroom? Ask yourself: why do you feel obligated to bring this in? Why am I so defensive and stubborn about leaving it behind?
Finally, I challenge you to start leaving your phone behind, whether that’s in your locker for the entire day or your car. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop scrolling and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.