I habitually check my phone the minute I wake up. I feel left out when I miss more than 10 GroupMe messages. I spend more time than I'd like to admit sending my friends terrifying Snapchats of me face swapping with inanimate objects. So, when I decided to ditch my phone for spring break, I was a little anxious.
I was going to Puerto Rico with my mom, and I thought this would be the perfect time for this experiment, knowing she would love having my undivided attention at dinner for once. In all honesty, the first day it felt like I was missing a limb. I was Ricky Bobby, what-do-I-do-with-my-hands lost.
As the week went on, however, I realized I hadn't even thought about my phone. I would highly recommend letting go of your phone every now and then, even if just for a day. Here are six things that happened when I did:
1. I didn't care what I looked like.
Without having my favorite Instagram yogis or fitness gurus to compare myself to, I had time to focus on relaxing (and eating as many tacos as possible) instead of worrying about being judged for not exactly having my spring break bod.
2. I picked up an actual newspaper.
When I say I picked it up, that's literally all I did because the second I realized it costed 12 dollars (which is insane, even for a Sunday edition of the New York Times), I immediately dropped it back onto the stack.
I felt completely clueless about what was going on in the world, but I must admit, it was nice not receiving several updates a day about the presidential election.
3. I paid more attention to my surroundings.
As embarrassing as it is, I've missed my bus stop countless times before because I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Not having my face buried in my phone allowed me to really take in all the amazing sights Puerto Rico had to offer. I got to appreciate local art like a true, snooty art aficionado — standing with one leg popped, eyes squinting, arms crossed — instead of taking a picture of a piece and moving on.
I looked up things to do on the island via the concierge, and I had so much more fun making my own adventures rather than constantly checking what everyone else was up to on their various, social media-fueled vacations.
4. I read two books.
And I am not what you would call a fast reader. Normally, I would sit on the beach and check my social media in between chapters, causing me to read not nearly as much as I should in a whole day. Not having my phone made me more productive and focused (despite being on vacation), which was such a great feeling.
5. I didn't miss anything.
I was nervous I was going to miss something important. When my friend studied abroad, she had no idea about the viral sensation that was, “What are those?” What if I missed something of that magnitude?
When I got home and checked my phone, I realized I had absolutely nothing to worry about, and that worrying about being up-to-date with trends is a little ridiculous in the first place.
6. I realized how annoying a phone really is.
I don't know a single person who hasn't been yelled at for being on his or her phone at the dinner table. Seriously, parents, don't you realize college students need to know what everyone is adding to his or her Snapchat story 24/7?
I always got annoyed at my parents' comments about my phone, that is, until my Mom did it to me. I only realized I was having a conversation with myself when after five minutes of talking, she looked up and said, “What?”
Thanks to my phone-less week, I'm happy to report this is a habit I've broken because let's be real: It's rude no matter who you're with.
Did this week completely cure my mild social media addiction? No. Did it make me more aware of where to draw the line, and say enough is enough? Absolutely. And I'm thankful for that.