I began my weekday morning, by waking up thirty minutes before my biology lecture started, which for me, is barely enough time to brush my teeth and throw on clothes. My roommate, having also woken up late, was in the same predicament as me. Although we are friends, I realized that we rarely talk to each other in the mornings. I’m not sure whether it’s because we are both definitely NOT morning people, but every morning we get ready for class, eat breakfast, and walk out our door, without uttering a word. This is surprising considering that every other time we see each other throughout the day, we talk excessively.
In my rush to get to class on time, and not be late for our quiz, I was unable to take my usual morning shower, and had to put my hair up in a bun instead. On my walk to class, I began noticing other girls’ hair and comparing their cute hair styles to my own sloppy up-do. My lack of preparedness for the day made me self-conscious, and as a result I took the back way to class to avoid crowds, and watched my feet the entire time so as not to look at the people walking by me in the opposite direction. After class was over I repeated this, until I made it into my dorm where I then showered in preparation for my next class hours later. Compared to my initial walk to class, during the walk to my next class I found myself making fleeting eye contact or slight half-smiles to people approaching from the opposite direction, and my posture and stride were more confident than my initial embarrassed trek. This made me realize how much my appearance not only affects the feelings I have toward myself but also effects the way I present myself to others as well as my social contact with others.
Another striking realization is the lack of social contact I make during the weekday. I prioritize my schoolwork during the week and in doing so, my contact with friends during the week drops significantly when compared to weekends. I rarely see my friends face-to-face on a weekday aside from classes I share with them, and limit myself to occasional texts. I always thought of myself as a social person in high school, and now that I’m in college, I find that my school work is making me far more isolated than I am comfortable with. I desperately long for the social life I once had, however I can’t seem to maintain the balance between my social life and completing all of my schoolwork.
Along with the challenge of balancing my work with my social life, I also try to maintain the social connections I have with my best friends from home. We are all very far apart, with me here in Baltimore, my best friend Hayley in Scotland, and my other best friend Alexis in Boston, we find that communication is difficult. I’m limited to Facebook and texting when talking with Alexis, and I have to resort to Skype in the morning hours to talk to Hayley, due to time differences. I’m thankful for the varying technologies that allow me to communicate with my friends, but it’s impossible to talk through these methods the way it is when face-to-face with that person.
I suspect my reliance on my phone is entirely different than most. In some ways it’s the same, a lifeline to friends and family, but unlike some people, it is also a lifeline to my boyfriend of three years, Michael, who attends college in my home state of Connecticut. The second I wake up in the morning, I reach for my phone to check for the inevitable “Good Morning” text I receive from him. It is a daily ritual to send this good morning text, depending on who is awake first, yet on this day instead of the usual greeting, I woke up to a text that answered a question I had asked the night before. I found myself sadly disappointed at the lack of my morning greeting. I realized it has become one of the things that make me feel as though we aren’t so far apart; that even though we can’t see each other on a regular basis, he’s still thinking about me. I text him in between classes, and Skype with him every Sunday night, and although these methods of communication lack the appeal of face-to-face contact, they are better than nothing. I found giving up my phone for an hour difficult for this reason. I’m so accustomed to texting him throughout the day that I found myself reaching for my phone, before remembering that I wasn’t allowed to do this. Yet during this time I found myself much more effective at doing my homework assignments and readings, and I couldn’t help but think that perhaps the reason my work takes up so much of my time is because I’m always having a conversation while doing it. That maybe if I didn’t text him, and instead did my work, I’d have more time available to socialize with my friends. Yet this realization frightens me, because it means my relationship is holding me back from having the social life I could have here, and I don’t want to have to choose between socializing with him or my friends.
Overall, I found this assignment very enlightening, since it challenged me to recognize things about myself that I had never realized or had overlooked.