Ok disclaimer. I didn’t “black out” in the typical sense of the word. But it many ways, I was disconnected from the entire world. This past weekend, for my ASCJ 200 class in Annenberg, I was required to not touch any media, screens, newspapers, magazines—you get it. I’ve done this before in elementary school, but that was when I read all the time and watched an hour or two of TV at night, so it wasn’t too hard. I’ve also gone on backpacking and camping trips where I wouldn’t have access to cell service, so I was more or less disconnected as well, but even then when I got service I sent a few texts.
This time was similar in some ways, but also very different. Daily Trojan Editorial Board was going to Palm Desert for the weekend for our bi-annual retreat. We were going to go hiking in Joshua Tree for the majority of the trip, so that was convenient because I knew I wouldn’t have service, so there wasn’t any temptation. However, back at the resort, I wanted to share everything. Since we came in Friday night, we woke up Saturday morning to a beautiful view, and I reached for my phone, only to realize that while everyone else was Snapchatting the view, I was only able to look.
It was definitely tough throughout the day as well, as I saw the various Snapchat filters people were using on their pictures, and how they were sharing all our brunches, the weird weather, the gorgeous resort, and much more. When I knew I had the opportunity to send a funny Tweet or check-in to a location on Facebook, I yearned for a screen.
However, at the same time, I realized I had actually achieved the goal of the retreat—to become close friends with everyone I was sharing these adventures with. At brunch, I actually talked to people I barely knew. On the hike, I learned new facts about my fellow editors as we tried to summit before sunset and get back to the cars before dark (we didn’t succeed, but bonds are grown through experience, right?).
Am I glad I actually completed the assignment? Yes. Was it tough? Yes. Was it worth? Absolutely.