Let’s all connect by first disconnecting | The Triangle

Let’s all connect by first disconnecting

Photograph courtesy of UltraSlo1 at Flickr

When was the last time you put down your phone and fully engaged in a deep, meaningful conversation with someone? When was the last time you took out your headphones and talked to a stranger? When was the last time you looked up from your phone and interacted with someone you didn’t know in the elevator? For most of you I am guessing you have never thought about this. You could be guilty of all of the above.

First, I want to say that I don’t blame you; I am guilty as charged as well. Technology is extremely valuable nowadays and it offers more opportunities than ever before. It is easier to network and talk to friends, and we can basically live our lives behind a screen. It connects us in so many ways that we aren’t even aware of, but with a yang there is always a yin.

Even though there are many positives to technology, the most glaring downside is that technology is hindering human interaction. This is affecting everyone, especially college students. With our hectic schedules and busy lives it is reasonable to use our phones when we have some free time. Drexel University is fast-paced and we can’t fall behind or else we will be left in the dust. So using our technological devices can seem like an outlet to relax and catch up on our social media newsfeed.

Elevator ride syndrome is a term my friend created for people who take out their phones instead of talking to someone in the elevator. It may not seem that terrible, but we have become accustomed to these little habits and we don’t realize the opportunities we are missing out on.

Drexel is home to so much diversity. The freshman class alone has students from 33 countries and each person we don’t talk to on the elevator has an amazing, beautiful story. We can learn so much by digging down and getting deep with someone we don’t know. Instead of calling it small talk, they should change it to big talk because engaging in a deep conversation will allow you to learn so many things.

Everyone is like a library of knowledge and there are unlimited things we can learn by listening to a stranger. Melinda Gates said it best when she stated, “I believe in the power of storytelling. Stories open our hearts to a new place, which opens our minds, which often leads to action.”

Many people are also guilty of checking their phones as soon as they wake up in the morning. I do this regularly, but I am doing my best to break the habit. This “addiction” is normal among many people. However, if you disconnect for 20 minutes to an hour in the morning, I guarantee you will feel rejuvenated and like a new person.

So going forward, I challenge each and every one of you, including myself, to go against the current. Instead of staring at our screens or listening to music, podcasts and audiobooks, try and talk to someone like you truly care. Be fully engaged in what they have to say and what knowledge they can offer. You don’t want to miss out on something special.

So together, let’s try to connect by disconnecting.