Hopkins spent one week without her phone and realized what she was--and wasn't-- missing.

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This semester, I embarked on a torturous five-day journey. I went on a digital hiatus. A detox of sorts.

Why did I do this? I asked my professor if I could stop watching TV for a week and she told me I had to give up all technology. For the last work week, I refrained from using my cell phone in any capacity. No social media platforms were updated (Sorry, followers). I only used my laptop for school and work.

Day 1 of Digital Detox:

So far so good but wow this is odd.

I went on a run and ran some errands today and thought I was missing something the whole time. I feel confused and plain out of whack without my electronics. I get my texts on my computer, (which may be seen as cheating, but I am being good and leaving them unopened for the week) so I see the messages, but I don’t reply.

But I worry. Would they think I was mad at them?

And what about my mother. I call her every single day, usually more than once. But not this week.

By the end of the day, I recognize just how dependent I am, and quitting cold turkey is no walk in the park. I had to buy a good old-fashioned digital watch because my Apple Watch would be cheating. (I can turn off the fancy features, but I know myself and I am weak to temptation). (Look at my watch tan in the photo). My lunch hour was more productive than usual today because I didn’t turn on the TV or scroll through social media. I started to realize I don’t go to social media for the content, I scroll because I’m bored. Today was weird and I need this week to be over. Call me dramatic, but I am dying.

Day 2 Digital Detox

Day 2… I am missing the “Today Show” more than I ever thought possible. I’m lucky I don’t have class until 11 this morning because I had to rely on a watch alarm to wake me up. It didn’t do the trick.

I am reminded of the days when plans couldn’t be changed on a whim via instant text message. I feel 80 years old. I just hope against hope that my group members are sticking to the plan and will show up at the previously decided upon time and place. Stay tuned.

The team stuck with the plan! This is getting simultaneously easier and harder. It feels different, but nice to have my hands free when I walk from class to class and to have my head up. I’m getting used to not having my phone or recreational computer more quickly than I expected to. I did not see that coming.

Day 3 Digital Detox

Well surprisingly enough, I’ve gotten quite used to having my hands free when walking across campus. The lack of music has been annoying, but thankfully I have a record player I can use when I’m at home. Although I’m getting more okay with the situation, I must admit something: I cheated today. I saw that my friend invited me to plans this weekend and I didn’t want to be rude and ignore, so I replied. It was a slip-up and I don’t feel good about it, but it was a big reminder that there is a world outside, and it is going on without me. Well duh, obviously the world doesn’t stop spinning, but it’s hard to be so out of the loop. That feeling is both overwhelming and liberating. Bittersweet feelings about being halfway done.

Day 4 Digital Detox

I just want to watch TV. Two of my three classes were canceled today, and I can’t even celebrate by enjoying some Netflix. I understand that this can be a positive and I should use this time wisely and read or get ahead on some homework, but frankly, I just want to relax in front of some nice, mindless television.

Update: I’ve nearly finished my book, and I cheated again. I had to call my mom. I just had to! I miss chatting on the phone. Tomorrow is my last day, let’s see if I can finish strong.

Day 5 Digital Detox

This is it, y’all! Home stretch. This was either the best week or the worst week to do this because I had an abnormally small amount of things going on. Classes were canceled and schoolwork was minimal, so I had to creatively fill my time. I worked out every day, I read a lot of my book, and I took a few walks around campus. Walking with my head up is something I plan to keep doing, it’s so nice to see other people and see what’s happening around me. I can’t wait to watch the Today show, but I hope I don’t fall back into the habit of turning on the TV just to have some background noise. I’ve gotten oddly used to silences.

Although I liked this Digital Detox way more than anticipated, I must admit… I called it quits a bit early. Only by a few hours and only because it was Friday afternoon and I felt a heavy amount of FOMO (fear of missing out).

So to wrap this whole thing up, I will leave you all with some newfound pearls of wisdom.

1) Leaving social media behind for a week is actually pretty freeing. It relieves, or rather prevents, stress, and opens opportunities to talk to people face to face.

2) Not calling your mom for a week is dangerous. You will miss her and she will miss you and the overdue conversation at the end of the week will be a long one. (Although I cheated I had the decency to at least keep our conversation somewhat short.)

3) Not having music that comes from the internet is weird and quiet and only sometimes peaceful. If you’re like me, there is background music for every activity. When it’s gone, you notice. Working out is especially odd because heavy breathing can be heard from every direction and that is not a pleasant sound. I had to learn the local radio stations, and once I did that my car rides were much less miserable!

4) TV is great and I missed it a lot. Meals were lonely and quiet because I couldn’t flip on the familiar friend that is the television. It got easier, and by the end of the week when I would get bored or have a spare moment it became natural to reach for my book rather than the remote. This does not mean I’m not very excited to have it back, I am.

5) I would highly recommend a digital detox to nearly everyone in the world. Yes, it was tough and sometimes scary, but it was doable. Even if it’s a minor change, like checking your email only three times a day instead of 20, it can be very healthy. Get your head out of your hands and celebrate real life. Social media is cool, but take pictures of things you like instead of worrying how many likes you’ll get. Give it five days. Just see what happens.