By Ashley Dozier
Picture this: a nice spot under a shady tree with the sun just overhead and a slight breeze passing through. Got that? Okay good, let’s try another scenario. Now imagine that you and your friends are playing ultimate frisbee out on Herty Field or Myers Quad. Can you picture that? The majority of you will say yes. You can picture yourselves enjoying the great outdoors and all it has to offer… but could you picture it without a selfie?
When you walk around campus or downtown, you witness a world within a world. That world is the digital realms of social media. We are all guilty of documenting our outings with friends, Snapchatting ourselves making silly faces as we walk to class or flooding Instagram with delicious pictures of our meals. And we can all guiltily admit to scrolling and obsessively jumping from one profile page to the next looking at picture after picture of the latest feed the second we feel the slightest pinch of boredom.
Sahaper Bhowjwani, a senior from Fayetteville, says, “I actually have updated my status in class because I got bored, and I see people updating all the time especially on Snapchat. Everyone’s trying to keep in touch with what’s going on around them.” We live to be individuals and get the most out of life, but often that boils down to the next Instagram picture, tweet or snap about what we just did or what we’re doing now instead of actually living in the moment.
We have been conditioned to seek some sort of entertainment at all times whether that’s listening to music while walking to class or scrolling through the latest tweets. We thrive on getting the next like, favorite, reblog or repost. By doing this, however, we are missing out on the best parts of life because we are living through a screen. The addictions that we have to our electronics are numbing us to the world around us. No matter how much you try, you’ll never be able to feel the sunshine through a screen or hear the crunch of leaves walking to class with earphones in your ears. You’ll never know the friends that you would have made waiting for the bus if you spend all your time watching your “friends” on Facebook.
It’s time that we wake up, UGA! Our campus is one of the most beautiful campuses in the South with all of our gardens, lush fields and beautiful architecture. Take some time out of your day and notice it every now and then. “I think it’s good to take a break from social media because you get to experience talking to people face to face,” says Kaina Jalia, a junior from Tucker. “You get to relax and enjoy the campus, especially the fountain.”
Enjoy all that our campus has to offer for yourself, in person and through the lens of your own eyes while you have the chance. New photos, statuses and social media pages come and go (just ask MySpace), but having unobstructed quality time with your friends and family is priceless and does last forever.
“There are a lot of positive effects of social media!” Bhojwani says. “You get to keep in contact with everyone around you, but taking a break is vital. You get to self reflect and embrace what’s around you and see this beautiful campus.”
As the last weeks of summer roll out and fall begins, try stepping out of your comfort zones and unplugging for a while. Walk around campus and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Take time to meet new people as you walk to class. That girl or guy you’ve noticed on Facebook or Instagram, go invite them to hang out near the turtle pond or get to know them while you both jump in the fountain at Herty Field. Challenge yourself to leave your phone in your backpack for the day and find new ways to entertain yourself outside. Take a walk, go for a jog with a friend, study in the sunshine. The possibilities are endless. Chances are that if you unplugged for a while, you’ll find something that you’ve never seen before. I promise, your Twitter feed will still be there when you come back.