The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Keep your head up

I’ve always found it funny the way we Americans manage our time. I don’t think we are bad at time management; in fact, most people would say Americans manage their time more efficiently than most of the world. This may be the popular opinion regarding time efficiency, but it is the quality of time spent that matters most. Americans seems to be more stressed than ever with commitments pulling at them from every direction with kids, careers, friends, school, extra-curricular activities, church, family life, etc. At first glance, one might say these problems have always been around, and that is undoubtedly true. There have always been things in our lives that cause us to be stressed or distracted, and there always will be. However, it is the ability to get away from these things that has drastically changed. Constantly being connected does not always provide for a more organized life. In fact, it can make us more scatterbrained and blur the lines between when it is time to work and when it is time to play.

When I see people with their shiny iPhones, I look with “AH!” at the modern technological marvel that allows us to surf the net, shop in iTunes, manage photos, receive and send files, manage our friends on Facebook and oh yes…make a phone call! It is undeniably “downright cool” and handy. At times, I wonder what it would be like to jump on the Internet and check all my messages on all my accounts at any point in my day. The widely held use of texting or looking things up on the iPhone is a relatively new idea. Heck, I remember when cell phones were a rare luxury and the ones I did see were gargantuan. Communication is so rapid that just a few minutes after an idea pops in my head it can show up on my friend’s cell-phone screen on the other side of the world. This is ultimately a good thing, but regular cell-phone use has become an addiction.

The problem with these smart phones is this: We are everywhere at once, but not fully present in our daily lives. One of my favorite quotes is, “Wherever you are, be there,” and cell phones get in the way of this, big time! I am not an advocate for dragging us back into the dark ages. I feel naked, like most, when I don’t have my cell phone on me. The worst of it all is that I probably will get an iPhone at some point. However, I feel like I can never have a real conversation with anyone anymore because the other person would be constantly distracted by having conversations with five other people via text messaging.

So, is there an answer to this problem? Yes. Is it a problem? I think so. We are on the run all the time with busy schedules. Since we were little, our parents packed our schedules full of activities after (and sometimes before) school. I can remember being hurried away from school to constant activities until I was physically and mentally drained by the time I got home. This is the same story for many of you, and I think the habit stuck. Spreading yourself too thin in all areas of life seems to be a common trait among Americans. What we really seem to be spreading too thin is our attention span. This is what commentators mean when they say America is an ADD nation. We keep our schedules full and our cell phones at our side. We cannot just do one thing at a time, but it is almost painful for some to have their hands free when they could be texting away.

So, I propose something. Let’s take it down a notch from ADD to a mild obsession. How about we stop texting during class and actually learn the material we are there for? Can we wait until our teacher, friend, family or anyone else is done talking until we check that message? Do you think it is possible to take a walk through campus and enjoy the scenery for once instead of keeping your head down and bumping into innocent bystanders like me? Dodging aimlessly walking ‘texters’ on their way to classes is a talent. I know you are busy – so am I. Just be careful not to let your life pass you by while you are busy texting. There is a time for everything. Put your cell phone away for once and participate in reality. You might find it refreshing to spend a whole day with your head up, and more importanty, I won’t have to dodge you on the way to economics.

Brent Lemons is a junior international relations and political science major. He can be reached for comment at blemons@smu.

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