I always reach this point of the school year before I’m aware of it. We’ve been back at school for roughly a month now, and although it feels like I arrived to campus only yesterday, I’m already shoulders-deep in a whole mess of assignments, projects and personal to-do list duties.
Worst of all is the fact that I’m now completely “plugged in” to the Internet and my electronic devices again, which brings back that constant, annoying preoccupation with having to check and update every facet of my life at all times.
Wait, when did this happen?
Just a few short weeks ago, I was working in northern Wisconsin as a counselor for a camp I attended as a child. The camp, which is located smack dab in the middle of the woods of Nowheresville, has always been symbolic of nature and escaping from our high-pressure, fast-paced world. Counseling staff and campers alike find enjoyment in the fact that they can “unplug” – literally and figuratively, as there is very little access to electricity – for the multiple week duration of camp and simply get back to nature. I was new to the idea, since I had been away from camp for years, but I quickly became obsessed with it.
There was something about the thick, seemingly unending woods and sparkling lake that made me feel like I was actually connected to this planet. The fact that I could go for days at a time without having my phone on my person made me feel unrestrained. The lack of an Internet connection and subsequent cluelessness of all breaking news, other than what I learned from word of mouth, made each conversation feel fresh. The simple games campers created on the spot, with no gadgets or toys, made me realize that true fun simply requires imagination. Most of all, the sounds of nature, animals and children playing was a refreshing break from the bustle and commotion of our normal daily lives, and really helped me appreciate the smaller things in life.
And yet, now that I’m back at school it’s like the whole summer was erased; I’m once again trapped in an over-stimulated world, like someone set fireworks off in my brain. Now, I find myself wanting to go back to the woods and unplug again.
I wrote in issue two of Flyer News that we should spring into action and get involved around campus, and I still think that’s important. True, it’s hard to think about relaxing sometimes, since we hardly ever get a moment’s rest at school, and the moments we do get are often spent trying to unwind in social settings. But it’s important to know how to unwind in other
It’s like former Managing Editor Rebecca Young said in a 2010 Flyer News editorial: “We’re in college; we’re taught every hour must be maximized, and yet not enough is said about the optimization that comes from sitting quietly.” Young discussed how our generation has become over-saturated with stimuli, visual
I think those words are invaluable. We spend so much time plugged into our lives that we can easily miss the small, beautiful moments in life. Some of my most profound personal memories have been moments that included silence, pensiveness or isolation. We need these moments; they help us hear our own true thoughts and feelings.
Taking a moment to just slow down every once in a while and appreciate life’s many blessings can be a beautiful thing. So next time you find yourself able to take a break, don’t reach for the laptop or phone. Instead, try to get outside and find a quiet place to simply enjoy being alive.