Last week, one of my professors gave my class an unusual assignment. The assignment was this:
“Go for a walk in the woods, preferably by yourself, or, with a friend if you are uncomfortable walking alone. Bring nothing with you: leave your phone, your ipod, and all tech gadgets at home. Do not speak to anyone (if your friend comes with you, please tell them that you both have to take a vow of silence on the walk). Observe. Listen. Experience. Move. Write a reflection on the experience.”
Seems simple enough, right? Little did I know that this assignment would completely open my eyes.
I try to detach from my phone more than the average 21-year-old person. I don’t have Snapchat, I still send letters in the mail, and I have an ongoing vow to never look at my phone at dinner, on a date, or when I’m catching up with my friends. Still, being completely unplugged from any technology was an amazing experience.
For the assignment, I went for a walk in the woods on campus. I am horrible with direction, and unsurprisingly enough, I went the wrong way. Luckily, I wasn’t by myself or I would have immediately started to panic. Instead, we decided to go explore.
I have been at Bryant for three years now and discovered part of campus I’ve never seen before! There is a large field behind the Unistructure that has these beautiful trees donated to Bryant a long time ago. The trees reminded me of the tree that Ron Weasley’s car crashed into in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They sat along a brook that ran all the way back into the woods. Although it was chilly out, I decided to sit down in the field and reflect on what it felt like to be unplugged.
Not having my phone with me was a gratifying feeling. I didn’t feel pressured to check my email and I wasn’t worried about my Words with Friends score. Focusing on my surroundings and the company of the person I was with allowed me to reflect on my own life and question why I felt compelled to be connected all of the time.
It’s probably scary to walk away from your phone. People of all ages are on their phones or computers all the time (if you don’t believe me, check my grandmother’s Facebook page). While technology is a great thing, it’s so important to step away from it and connect with yourself once in a while.
I thank my professor for giving my class this assignment and allowing me to explore Bryant, unplugged.
Live in love,