In case you missed it…
Hi I’m Lauren and I’m a student at Embry-Riddle in Engineering. For 100 days I am traveling around the world in a study abroad program called Semester at Sea. I will be posting blogs, reflections and photos of my journey under this Embry-Riddle blog site, profile “Study Abroad”. I hope you follow me on my journey! Check out my photos!
January 24, 2016
(I am 17 hours ahead from the West Coast.)
Location: 28 degrees 9 minutes N (Latitude), 146 degrees 44 minutes E (Longitude)
Only one more day until Japan! It takes 10 days to cross the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii. It seems as if these days have been the longest days of my life. I am so excited to be on land tomorrow and to eat sushi!
Although my classes keep me busy, ship life can be very mundane especially during this very, very long crossing. However, there are many clubs and activities to help pass the time.
A few days ago, at the Free Thinkers club meeting, the topic of discussion that night was our increasing dependence on technology. This topic seemed very apt. On Semester at Sea, we have limited access to the outside world. We have no cell phone service and very limited internet. We are almost completely isolated from the real world. We live in our own separate reality. I do not miss being connected nor tethered to the outside.
The first few days of our voyage was strange. Everyone carried their phones but eventually people stopped as they served no purpose. Without our phones to shield us from having to be social, we were forced to get to know one another as we are trapped on the ship for 100 days together! At mealtimes, we would have meaningful conversations. People would smile in the hallways and would ask you how you are doing. When I was hanging out with my friends, we were all present and in the moment. We were distraction free.
It was astonishing to see how much time I saved by being disconnected. I was not constantly checking my phone for new texts, emails, or social media updates. At first it was frustrating that I could not text or call. When I was looking for my friends on the ship, I could not text them to ask where they are. Instead, I had to actually look for them!
However, I did not fully realize how dependent we are on technology until we arrived at our first port, Honolulu, Hawaii. That morning, all you could see were people’s faces being lit up by the glare of their phones. Everyone was reconnecting to the outside world again. Checking and posting on social media and texting and calling friends and family.
However as we are becoming increasingly dependent on technology, are we connected but alone? Online we find easy company but are exhausted by the pressures of performance. We enjoy continual connection but rarely have each other’s full attention. We like that the web knows us, but this is only possible because we compromise our privacy, leaving electronic bread crumbs that can be easily exploited. We can work from home, but our work bleeds into our private lives until we can barely discern the boundaries between them. We like being able to reach each other instantaneously but we have to hide our phones to force ourselves to take a quiet moment. We go online because we are busy but end up spending more time with technology and less with each other. We defend connectivity as a way to be close, even as we hide from each other.
We are at a tipping point. I believe we have reached a point where we can see the costs and start to take action. We will begin with very simple things. Talk to a colleagues down the hall, no cell phones at dinner, in the car, or in company. We are so dependent on our devices that we cannot sit still for a lecture or a play. We know that our brains are rewired every time we use our phone to search or surf or multitask. As we try to reclaim our concentration, we are at war with ourselves. Yet, no matter how difficult, it is time to look again toward the virtues of solitude, deliberateness, and living fully in the moment.
We deserve better. When we remind ourselves that it is we who decide how to keep technology busy, we shall have better.
Check out more of my photos!