The AirPod Epidemic


As I look around to my left and right, I see action. The cars zoom through the congested Washington DC streets inappropriately fast. Every student, professor, and government worker of some sort is rushing somewhere. Some walk to the beat of the music playing loudly in their ears. Others appear to be talking to themselves, quite literally talking to the air, as there is someone on the other line of the phone. Some attempt to conceal their laughter as they secretly listen to the podcast “Call Her Daddy.” I observe their facial expressions and it is evident that everyone is in his or her own world. When I look closer, I see the culprit: AirPods. 

    The first week that I arrived at the George Washington University, I stepped foot out of Thurston Hall AirPod-less. I was surprised at the lack of conversation and the abundance of AirPods that I observed. You bet your bottom dollar, the first thing that I did when I got back to my dorm after classes was jump on my computer, type in, and fast-ship AirPods straight to my dorm room. Now in all fairness, you might be wondering: “if you were so taken aback by this phenomenon why did you buy yourself AirPods and just continue contributing to this oddity?” Well, there was something so captivating about the fact that you could put two pearly white music makers into your ears and be transformed into your own world. 

    I do ponder the question, though, what does the act of putting headphones in relay to others? It is a universally known thing that whenever someone has headphones in, you should leave them the “f” alone. No one should bother a headphone user. So, if virtually every student on the GW campus has some sort of headphones in, that means that we all want to be left alone and want to keep to ourselves. This is slightly concerning in my book. 

The act of putting AirPods in your ears is the equivalent to shutting out the outside world and zoning in to your own. People act as if they are in a trance, oblivious to what is going on around them. All they can focus on is the Podcast they’re listening to about Starting a Business or the conversation they’re engaging in with their boyfriend who lives across the country. AirPods enable us to be in two places at the same time. We can lead two lives with two different groups of people. We are able to be present in our hometowns, while remaining present at college. But after much thinking, I have been wondering if we are truly present at college. 

GW is spread out amongst the city of Washington D.C. and due to the lack of a campus, there aren’t many central locations that GW students gather. Some even complain about the lack of community and the nonexistence of school spirit. Students do not always feel part of a typical college community. Everyone walks around campus in their own world. Two people can pass each other without acknowledging one another. It’s actually quite lonely if you think about it. Humans pass up the opportunity to interact with one another because they are so stuck in another place. We get so used to connecting with people through our phones that we forget how to connect with those in our real lives; we forget how to connect with the people we see day to day, just walking around GW’s campus.

The Gen Zs are notoriously known for loneliness in general. This is mostly attributed to our reliance on technology. When you exist in your own world, resisting real-life connections, you’re going to feel alone. Therefore, AirPods are greatly contributing to loneliness on campus. Trust me, I am not totally shitting on people that own AirPods, as I am one of these AirPod owners. I just ask that we take the time to realize the message that we are relaying to others when we wear AirPods. I do think that we need to take the time to acknowledge the fact that if we all roam through the streets of DC, or wherever you may be, without interacting with one another, our society is in deep s***. The second that we are unable to form these real life connections and talk to one another, is the second that the world comes to an end. Okay that might be dramatic, but you get my point. So take our your AirPods when appropriate and talk to people!