By Maggie Collett
As you read this, you probably have your laptop open, your cell phone on, and your iPod in your back pack. Chances are, you also recently watched TV or maybe caught up on your favorite show on Hulu. And sometime within the past few days, you stayed up way too late because you were distracted by one of the above mentioned things.
Technology has caused us to constantly need to be in touch. In the two minutes that it took to construct the previous paragraph, I checked my Facebook page and Twitter account approximately four times. Granted, it was just a glance to see if I had new notifications, but it was a distraction nonetheless.
More and more often, I find myself putting off homework to download music or finish a text conversation with someone. By the time the album is fully transferred to my iTunes and the text messages have finally come to a halt, it’s midnight and I’m staring my homework in the face. Frantic, I speed through assignments, putting in significantly less effort than originally planned. I know the work is second-rate, but I just can’t seem to peel myself away from all the gadgets surrounding me.
Before I know it, 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning are rolling around and I’m beginning to go cross-eyed, exhaustedly staring at my computer screen. I shut it down and stumble to the sink to brush my teeth. Before I can even get in bed, though, I already know what I’ll do.
After double checking that all chargers are plugged in, I check my phone. Although I know there won’t be any new text messages, missed calls, or Twitter mentions in the dead of the night, I have to be sure. I then scroll through my apps and open my Facebook mobile. It doesn’t come as a shock that there is nothing new, not even an updated status.
It’s usually about this time that I start to get restless. Although 15 minutes ago I had been tired beyond belief, I now can only lay in bed staring at the ceiling. Once again, I turn to my phone. Usually I’ll open my Kindle app and finish the chapter in my latest book. By the time I officially fall asleep, it’s 4:30 or 5 a.m. and my alarm is set for three hours later. No college student can run on three hours of sleep.
Naturally, the next day I shuffle around campus in sweatpants with coffee in hand. And the reason for my misery can be attributed to one thing: technology and the capabilities it has given me.
So hard can it be to give up these things? My four-year-old nephew seems to manage just fine. In fact, a few weeks ago when I babysat, the only thing that he was concerned about before bedtime was making sure that I read the next chapter in his book out loud.
My goal for the next couple of weeks is to unplug myself from electronics by 10 o’clock at night. It’s about time that I started focusing less on social networks, Androids, and Jersey Shore. Next time I have the urge to tweet about something as I’m lying in bed, maybe I’ll turn my phone off instead and focus on sleeping for more than three hours.
Maggie Collett is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.