Are You Here?

All rights to this photo belong to Petar Milošević.
All rights to this photo belong to Petar Milošević.

Written by Dunstanette Macauley

Admit it: We all like to get super and to my surprise, I started to enjoy myself more. Something about being fully present with people and dressed up to go out but before we leave, we always make sure we get in a few selfies, a group pic, and at least one full body shot. We go out, spend half of our time on our phones and when we leave, we post the pictures to Instagram to show everyone how much fun we had. We wear our headphones everywhere (of which, I’m guilty) and we tweet more than we actually talk in person. While I’m happy about the various ways we have to document every second of our lives, I wonder what happens in the moments in between.. are there even any moments in between?

This past summer, I had the opportunity to be fully disconnected—and I mean disconnected in every sense of the word. I was up in the woods with about 30 other people with no cell phone reception and I only had enough time to use Wi-Fi for about an hour a day. Talk about being rustic. The first two weeks were the worst because I could tell I was going through some type of technology withdrawal. I had no choice but to be fully engaged in the things that were going on around me having them do the same makes an experience much more enjoyable and memorable.

After an entire of summer of being in that predicament, I came back to Rutgers and started to see this cul- ture we have going on in a different light. I noticed that I would be talking to someone and they’d be staring into their phone, only to ask me to repeat myself when they actually started paying full attention to me. I had never really had a problem with that before but it was kind of like a culture shock back into my own community and, not to mention, it irked me. Maybe for a day, or even an hour, put the phone down and take the headphones out. Open yourself up to conversation with a person you haven’t spoken to before and be fully engaged in that. I know that the longing for social media is always going to be there but Twitter isn’t going to disappear. Whatever that’s happening in the now, may not happen again so take advantage of that and fully immerse yourself in the present.

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