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I Didn’t Google Anything For A Week & Here’s What Happened

I’m going to confess…I was really nervous about this project.

I absolutely love Google. I’ll usually search for a website instead of downloading the app or bookmarking it—it’s just quicker for me and doesn’t take up storage space on my phone. So when I was given the task of not performing an Internet search for a week, I was uncertain of what that week would be like. Here’s what ended up happening.

Monday

Ah, the dreaded first day. I woke up and prepared to Google the Facebook website to check for new messages. I stopped myself, instead opening the app I had downloaded the day before. Next was opening the bookmark for the Sara Laughed website, which I work for, to see if there were any updates. My morning routine felt a bit awkward and took considerably more time as I fumbled to use the apps and bookmarks correctly. Other than not being able to look up new Walking Dead info when I was bored, Monday went surprisingly smoothly.

Related: What I Learned From Two Weeks Without My Cell Phone

Tuesday

I had a new assignment given to me for my marine biology class this day, and I was really struggling with it. We had to use outside sources, but of course Google Scholar was off limits for me. Which meant trudging down to the library in the cold to look for some reference materials. I didn’t have much luck.

I was genuinely at a loss for what to do and very frustrated that a simple luxury like a search engine was causing me so much trouble—after all, back when my mom was in college in the ’80s, she survived without Google. I finally decided to ask my friends for the printouts of the sources they used. Crisis averted, thankfully.

Wednesday

After running around like a madwoman on Tuesday, I was still frustrated and disappointed in myself. There are people facing all kinds of insurmountable dilemmas every day, and my life was being disrupted by my lack of a search engine. It was a textbook example of #firstworldproblems, and it upset me.

Related: Seriously, You Don’t Need To Instagram It

I was also starting to realize that everyone around me uses Google more than I thought. Before beginning this project, I honestly thought the hard part would be stopping myself from searching the websites I use every day. But the truly hard parts were not searching every question I had, having to ask others for help, and not being able to complete classwork in the same manner as everyone else—in the same manner as the professors expected, even. I mulled over these thoughts as I went about my day.

Thursday

I had to contact Starbucks headquarters to discuss an issue I was having (more #firstworldproblems, I know). The man on the phone advised me to Google the contact information of someone higher up in the company, as his department wasn’t given access to the information. I thanked him for his time and hung up with building irritation. I didn’t want to ask one of my friends to search the information for me because I felt that it was cheating. After all, this wasn’t for a class assignment, and it wasn’t a printout being shared with me like on Tuesday.

I took a few deep breaths to calm down and went to class. Everyone had their laptops, and we participated in a discussion that involved a lot of searches by students to find information on the discussion topic. I actually didn’t mind not having my beloved Google, though. I realized that I had the opportunity to voice my own opinions, formulated just by listening and with no bias from what I was reading on my screen. I left class invigorated and ended the day feeling a lot calmer than I had started it.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday

By this point, a lot of people had asked me why I wasn’t Googling. After lots of explaining, one person asked me if I planned on changing my lifestyle at all after the week was over. That was the thought in my head throughout Friday and the rest of the weekend. I was getting over not being able to immediately find the answer for anything and everything, and my phone battery lasted a lot longer since my Internet time was cut down. But what did I really want to take away from this experience? After all, I resolved to speak my mind more often after my last article for Her Campus.

Related: How Changing My Routine Completely Changed My Life

So here’s what I decided after a week without my favorite search engine. My goal is not to quit using Internet searches but to attempt to use my textbooks, notes or other resources for the answers to my questions, when possible. I had gotten a bit lazy by just searching and using the answer that popped up first on Google, and during my quizzes at the end of the week I actually performed better, thanks to the skimming chapters dozens of times while looking for the exact information I needed to do my work.

Google is a wonderful thing that gives us access to more information than ever before. And people actually expect us to use that information—as demonstrated by my professors and the guy at Starbucks. It’s not enough to ask a question anymore; we’re expected to find the answer and utilize the information. There aren’t as many excuses for not knowing things in our generation. But sometimes, we can overuse having all that knowledge at our fingertips. If you feel a bit too dependent on Google, try going a day or two without the search function! It’s a great way to really think your own thoughts—and feel what it was like to be a student in the ancient days of the twentieth century. 

Hey everyone! I'm Jess, and I graduated from Ursinus College in December 2020 with my Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Food Studies. I currently own my own digital marketing agency, and am passionate about the environment, good food, and sharing stories.
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