Students Disappoint Me, Yet Again

Twenty-four students at the University of Central Florida accepted a challenge from one of their teachers to go tech-free for five days. No cell phones, no email, no computers, video games, television, iPods (well, you could use your phone or computer for work or school, but that was it). Only two students made it through the five days. That’s not surprising. Hell, I don’t think I could do it. I’m not disappointed that students found it nearly impossible to leave modern technologies untouched for a week.

I’m disappointed by their weird crap attitudes about it. Few students even agreed to the challenge in the first place. The article quotes one student saying, “Why should I bother? It’s just pointless.” What happened to a sense of curiosity, a willingness to accept a challenge, a desire for experimentation? And students who did agree to the challenge? “This sucks. I better get a good grade.” Really, that’s what you have you to say about this experience? Pretty funny (sad?) to read, too, what the students did to “fill the void.” I especially like the kid who spent an afternoon doing donuts in his car. These are college students, yo. Whatever happened to reading a book?

I don’t know, maybe I’m too harsh. These are eighteen-year-old kids who don’t remember a world without the interwebs. It just seems to me that students should be more interested in something like this, in challenging themselves, in discovering how difficult it really is to disconnect yourself from the things we take for granted. It would be such a broadening experience, and isn’t that what college is supposed to be about? Or is it really just about getting good grades?

I don’t know, I’m kind of tempted to try it myself. In fact, one of my favorite bloggers is doing just that: Inspired by National Turn Your Television OFF week, she has decided to turn it all off. I look forward to hearing about her experience. And you might just hear something similar from me in the coming weeks. (Or, um, not hear anything coming from me, as the case would be.)

2 thoughts on “Students Disappoint Me, Yet Again

  1. bnettles

    I was going to write a reply to this… However I don’t know which stance to take. To agree, or disagree.

    Agree: Seriously, turn off the phone, computer, TV, go hang outside and see the sun. Use a pay phone (after copious amounts of Lysol spray), or mail a letter. It may change some perspectives in life, and open someone up to “wanting” to experience more.

    Disagree: At 18-20 my cell phone was the only way in which to communicate with my beloved friends and family. My friends were always on the prowl: From friends house to the park, to the mall, to our favorite hang out. If it weren’t for my “celly cell”, my BBQ, frisbee, and basketball expertise would be severely lacking.

    Apparently most swords have 2 sharp edges.

  2. westwardbound

    Well, I made it without TV no problemo.

    Without a computer? I think I’d have to be on a hiking trip and only then would it seem natural. I cut back significantly, though. I must admit, when I was fresh out of college, I did an absolutely-no-media week, but for work, which forbade music, talk radio, newspapers, books, magazines, television…EVERYTHING. Boy was it tough. I wrote a lot of journals, exercised more, watched sunsets, hung out with friends at bars, and actually tried water-painting out of absolute boredom. It spurned a bit of creativity, that’s for certain.

    It is very sad that those Florida kids couldn’t fathom giving up ANY of it…


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