Analytical skills are at the top of the list of “must-know” information for today’s students.In high school, our teachers were always complaining that we didn’t analyze our reading material enough. But has the push for society to read into everything spilled over into our social lives?
I’m sure most of the male population would scream, “Yes! Girls analyze everything.” But, in our defense, the circumstances around us are what have caused us to become this way.
“The American youth culture has adopted computer-mediated communication as the primary means of communication, rather than face-to-face,” said Keith Whitworth, a sociology professor.
There are so many new opportunities and ways of communicating that it is no longer as simple as, “Sally smiled at me in the hall, so she must be happy.” Text messages make it tricky to decipher emotions on a bite-size screen. And it is not easy to convey our feelings through instant messaging via a glowing computer monitor.
Individuals who tend to overanalyze situations end up chasing their tails to discover the truth. The truth is that these individuals turn in to “waiters” – waiting for someone to tell them point-blank what they think, how they feel and what they want.
“Waiting is preferred because individuals within our society seek efficiency and predictability,” Whitworth said.
The action of waiting also transcends to a bigger picture – one that every college student is affected by: waiting on someone to characterize our existence.
It is waiting, caused largely by technological advancements, that causes us to wonder why people are not reacting to us. We stress out about a break in communication: “Maybe it’s because I didn’t ask a question. Yes, that has to be why he didn’t respond.” Waiting for someone to reply to a Facebook wall post: “Well, if she writes to everyone else and not to me then she must be upset.” Waiting for someone to return a missed call. Waiting for someone to meet us for lunch. Waiting for a new e-mail to pop up on the screen.
Certainly, some things are worth waiting for, but some things should not have the power to make us feel as though we don’t exist in the real universe because no one has tried to contact us all day.
Our society could greatly benefit from the ability to distinguish the differences between the things that are worth the wait and those that we should chase. A great deal of the stress students face is created during the idle time they spend waiting and wondering, rather than taking action.
Let me break it down to a more familiar term: procrastination.
Instead of staring at the screen waiting for any sign of human life on the Web, let the little AIM man hold an away message in safe keeping, and get up and do something. I’m not saying that you should attempt to save the world or even try to clean your room. Just pick up the phone and give your mom that call she keeps begging for, read a chapter for tomorrow’s class or start research for an upcoming paper.
Send your messages out to the world – the little beams of contact you wish to maintain – and then get on with your life. Don’t wait around for other people to schedule it for you. After all, if everyone is sitting around idly waiting for the next person, who are you sitting around waiting for?
Anahita Kalianivala is a freshman English and psychology major from Fort Worth.