Reconnect’s Disconnect

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving break is so close, and yet three papers, a-Spanish exam, and a lab away. And that’s on top of the myriad of commitments and meetings that we have everyday. We’re all busy. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said “I really wish I could hang out with my friends more” when in the library on a pub night, bar night, or any other social event this semester.

So you might think that I would be the perfect candidate to participate in “The Colby Reconnect,” which (according to the Facebook page) is: “a day where we encourage all members of our community turn cell phones off from 9a.m. to 9p.m. Imagine a day where we float around the Hill and can’t contact our peers except by talking with them face to face, can’t check our Facebook while standing in a lunch line, and only read our e-mails when we’re sitting at a computer. You’d be surprised what you see in a day when you’re not looking down.”

That sounds wonderful. I would absolutely love to disconnect from everything. But the simple fact of the matter is that I can’t. At Colby, having a smartphone on which I can constantly check email is almost an expectation, and God forbid I forgot about a meeting that I was supposed to go to. My calendar is in my phone; so as I’m darting from Miller to lunch, I’m checking to make sure I haven’t forgotten to do a reading. If my mother calls and I do not answer, you can be sure each of my roommates will receive a frantic she-didn’t-pick-up-her-phone-she’s-dead-in-a-ditch call.

Maybe these are extreme possibilities; maybe I could make a little more effort to write things down on paper. But I will take anything that gives me less stress during the most stressful time of the semester. And texting is the only way (usually) to keep in touch with friends from home. Those texts may not be face to face conversations, but I’ll take what I can get if it’s either take a bus to New York City just to ask how she’s doing or not hear from her at all.

Still, I see many positives in the Colby Reconnect Day. When I’m at lunch, I don’t appreciate it when whoever I’m sitting with decides that whatever is happening on Facebook must be more important than our conversation. So I propose a different day of reconnecting. The underlying point of the day is to have more face-to-face interactions with peers. So why not make a coffee date with a friend you haven’t seen in forever? When you’re at a meal, check your phone before, and then commit to leaving it in your coat pocket for the rest of the time. You’ll still be able to hear it if it rings and it’s an urgent call, but at least that allows you to Reconnect with peers without feeling like you’re disconnecting from all of your responsibilities.

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