I Went Without my Phone for a Week

I was walking to class like any other day when my phone slipped out of my hand. At first, I thought it would be fine; I had a case on it and my clumsiness meant I had dropped my phone plenty of times before. However, when I picked it up, the screen was cracked beyond repair. It did not even light up when I pressed the home button. Knowing that taking it to a phone shop would be hopeless and expensive, I decided to use my phone insurance and mail it in for a free replacement device. The week that followed was a learning experience to say the least.

I have been off the grid multiple times before. My family travels quite often (I have been to 82 countries on seven continents) and unless we are traveling in the states, I do not have access to the internet. When I am at home, though, I spend hours on my phone, checking the time, answering emails and checking social media. When I was phoneless, my availability for those activities was limited to when I had the ability to use my laptop. The main difference between past phoneless experiences and this one was how much I had to accommodate my daily schedule to account for how busy I was.

Whenever I got a break from class, I pulled out my laptop to check my email, my calendar or what time it was. I became inactive on social media because it got in the way of time I needed to complete other tasks or my homework. Any texts or calls that I got all week went unanswered. That week showed me how dependent I was on my phone and gave me the chance to take time for myself and reflect on how I wanted to split my time going forward. If I wanted to talk to someone I had to try harder to contact them, so that week helped me value my interpersonal relationships more too. Despite the inconveniences from not having access to my phone, the lessons I learned that week were not all bad.

Even if your phone does not break like mine does, I recommend taking a break from it in some capacity. Whether you experiment by not checking it for a weekday or a whole weekend, not having your phone can teach you what matters to you and how you can prioritize those things in your daily, phone-ful life.

Helmi is a senior at The University of Alabama from Menlo Park, California studying psychology and French. She has been to 78 countries on seven continents! Her favorites are Finland (since that's where her family lives), Bali and Antarctica. When she's not in class or traveling she loves reading, singing and songwriting, and hanging out with friends.

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