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Column: There's No App For Perspective

Heights Columnist

Published: Monday, October 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Hi. I am the Millennial Generation, and I have a problem. I have always known of this problem, but it has only dwelt somewhere in the back of my generational collective conscious. Back there, it has festered and grown over years of habits left unchecked. You see, I am addicted to technology.

This conclusion has come to me only after a trip to the Apple Store that necessitated me leaving my laptop there for diagnostics and repair for at least two days. I didn’t think too much of it and assumed that it wouldn’t make that much of a difference in my life not to have my laptop for a couple of days. I am ashamed and embarrassed to say that it has. Although I use it every day, I never really considered the importance it played in my life.

When I woke up this morning and was ready to get my day started, my immediate impulse was to go to my desk, start my computer, check my email, and then start writing this column. After realizing that there was no computer at my desk, I had to change my plans and assumed that I could just work on my other assignments for Monday. Wrong again. Everything that I needed to do required either a word processor or an Internet connection.

Luckily for me, these are not real problems. I sit right now in O’Neill Library, using computer R15 to type this column. After I finish it, I will use computer R15 to check my email, type up my other assignments, and do the rest of my work. While it might not be my laptop, it can effectively do everything I need it to do. Although I can’t work wherever I want, this gets the job done.

The real problem is far bigger than having to change my plans so that I can use a computer. The real problem is the dependency I have on technology that barely existed 10 years ago. Most mornings, I wake up and check my email and Facebook first thing. Most nights, that is also the last thing I do before I go to bed. In between, I cannot even count the number of times that I pull out my computer to work, play, or just waste time.

Then there is my relationship with my phone. To put it simply, I feel naked if I don’t have it with me at all times. My life revolves around it. I don’t think I would ever make it to anywhere on time if I didn’t have my iCal conveniently reminding me of my meetings. It wakes me up in the morning so that I can get to those meetings. It tells me how many layers of clothing I need to wear in this fickle New England weather. Oh, and it’s a phone.

None of these things are inherently bad. I am lucky enough to live in a day and age where such technology is available. I am lucky to live in a country that supports this. I think the problem lies in the way this dependency cripples us. We feel like we cannot function without these things.

We can’t simply read a book and write an essay. We have to read a book, type an essay, and spend a quarter of the allotted time looking at funny memes on the Internet. We cannot simply have dinner with our friends. We have to be having dinner, texting other people who aren’t there, and tweeting about it at the same time.

In spite of feeling crippled by this addiction, this is not a tirade against technology. Technology has given us so many great things –solutions to difficult math problems, advanced medical breakthroughs, and T-Pain. I am not suggesting we give up technology and live like the Amish. Yet it might still be useful to recognize the addiction for what it really is. They do say that the first step is admitting you have a problem.

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