As a 21st century enthusiast, I can honestly say one of the most frustrating experiences I've had in the last year was going without a smartphone for a week after an accident that involved my iPhone and a bottle of sprite… whoops. When I frantically called my dad to confess what happened to the pricey birthday present I'd spent months begging for, his short and ill-tempered response really got me thinking. "Sorry. You'll have to use my old phone until you can afford to buy a new one."
WHAT? My mind was racing. My blood was boiling. My heart felt like it was about to hop right out of my chest. His old phone? His old phone was… was some kind of strange, prehistoric Samsung; its most innovative features were the Browser option and a full keyboard. How could I possibly get by without apps, an 8-megapixel camera, or iMessage? Well, to say the least, it was not easy, and it definitely was not fun. I barely made it out alive before I bought a cheap, refurbished iPhone online, but here I am. Solid proof that you, in fact, can live without a smartphone. However, I can truthfully say after this nightmare of an experience, I will NEVER put myself in that hole again.
If there's one thing I learned during that dark and troubling time, it's that I am entirely too dependent on my iPhone… and I don't even care. Earlier this week, I decided to record my cellular activity just for one morning, just so I could have a concrete idea of how necessary it really is that I have an iPhone. It pretty much went like this:
Reset alarm that just went off for 10 o'clock
*lie in bed and decide to use my extra 30 minutes to catch up in the digital world instead of catching up on some sleep*
*Scroll through Twitter timeline, Instagram, and the surplus of Snapchat stories that had been posted over the last eight hours since I reluctantly parted with social media to catch some shut-eye*
*Turn off annoying second alarm*
*Respond to urgent group iMessage that reads, "SOS GUYS, what are we going to do for Galentine's Day?"*
*Turn on Spotify to listen to music while I get ready for the day*
*Continue to try and resolve the Galentine's Day crisis—"If all else fails, we'll rent The Vow (again) and split a bottle of Moscato."
*Open snap from Jessica that says, "Does this outfit look weird?
*Respond to Snapchat with the caption, "No, guuurl! I look disgusting." (even though you just spent the last 45 minutes getting ready)*
*Look at clock and panic because I have five minutes to get to my class across campus*
In just that hour and a half, I caught myself reaching for my phone over 15 times. Of course, who could blame me when I have friends who need my opinions, my thoughts, and my answers to be accessible 24/7?
While I probably could have gotten by without the group messaging, Snapchatting, and Spotify, I promise there are many more challenges I faced during the long, dreadful week without a smartphone. For example, I remember getting in my car to go a friend's new house, backing out of my driveway, and realizing I had no idea where I was going because I couldn't just type the address into my GPS. I had to actually call and ask for directions. But what if she didn't answer? Obviously, there are simple solutions to this issue, like going back inside and getting directions on my laptop. But these simple solutions are time consuming, and today's generation just moves too quickly to not keep up with secondhand resources.
Just after I whined to my dad about my iPhone trauma, I called my mom to express my anxieties, and, predictably, she was not sensitive when I told her about the tragedy.
"Morgan, you're going to be fine. People didn't have cellphones for thousands of years before us."
Obviously the Neanderthals weren't running around playing Trivia Crack or FaceTiming their mothers. But, seriously, her point was completely invalid. The problem is, we're living in a time where not having a smartphone is just impractical. Though I greatly respect my parents and my grandparents for figuring it all out without a smartphone when they were younger, people my age never learned how do some simple things without a smartphone. I imagine our sense of direction has been stunted by our reliance on a GPS. We are totally comfortable with changing plans last minute because we always have a way to communicate when we're on the go. We keep up with our friends who we don't see regularly on social media, rather than calling them on the phone or sending a letter. We take high-quality pictures of our every move and upload them for our friends and family to see.
When we suddenly lose access to our smart phones, a part of our world suddenly comes to a halt. Though, that part of our world has been a learned necessity. For my generation especially, smartphones have completely reformed what's considered an average day. We can, essentially, do anything, anywhere, at any time, whether it be sending an urgent email, staying updated on news, traffic, and the weather, or simply sharing our experiences with the world through social media. Generation Y catches a lot of wrath for our dependence on these devices. But, the truth is, we are only products of the digital world we were brought up in.
Morgan Harper is a Junior English for Corporate Communications major at Christian Brothers University and a staff writer at the Galleon
The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.