Put away your iPod

Jason Hanna

-It%s funny,’ my communications professor said. -My wife and I used to be invited to a lot more weddings by former students. Why do you guys think that has stopped?’ As my professor explained, and our class agreed, it is because of our cell phones and iPods that we are no longer taking the time to stop and meet new people. No one sitting in the classroom could deny that this is a prevalent trend on Villanova%s campus, and surely many others, and that we need to make more of an effort to put those devices away and open up our personal circle.

Class was dismissed, and I immediately put the speakers of my music player into my ear.

My reasoning is that the long walk back from St. Mary%s to the Quad is a lot more enjoyable when I am entertained by my favorite artist than when I%m walking in silence and solitude since no one is real chatty at 9:30 a.m. There was no way I was meeting my future wife on this path. I was content to live out all of my walks in this same isolating fashion. That was, until the day my iPod broke.

Now that my attention and my sense of hearing were available to the world, I began to notice all types of things. I saw more people who I knew but never realized walked the same way I did. I stopped and had more conversations, instead of just the impersonal waves and brief handshakes. It was like being in a huge hallway in high school. I was rethinking my whole stance on this issue.

Then I began to take notice of everyone else around me. My roommate and I stood on the ground floor of Bartley one day and watched the masses flood out of their classes. We watched as people immediately went for their phones and media players. We noticed people looking at their phones for extended periods of time, without making calls or punching any keys, seemingly just to look busy. We noticed that some people appeared to even be faking phone conversations just to avoid appearing alone to those around them (or just to avoid a certain someone). We also witnessed people trying to catch the attention of a classmate before that individual could grab his or her gadget of choice, only to lose out to *NSYNC or whoever else could occupy the three-minute walk from Bartley Hall to the Italian Kitchen.

I%m not making a case to completely abandon our toys and rewind technological advancements 30 years (because I know I have a panic attack if I forget my phone in my room). All I%m saying is that we shouldn%t hide behind them. Things that were invented to expand our ability to communicate on a global scale are now being used to constrict our circle of friends. We shouldn%t let something that extends no further than our ears to our mouths keep us a world apart.

Who knows, maybe if we all go one day without whipping out our phones or iPods as soon as class is out, professors everywhere will have a lot more Saturday plans.