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SLU students go unplugged

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How long could you go without e-mail? Without your cell phone? Facebook? How would it change your life? This semester, a class of first year students from St. Lawrence University "unplugged" to find out. They turned off their cell phones and didn't use the internet for a week and a half.

They wanted to reflect and understand how immersed they were in the digital world. Our news intern, Chelsea Ross, talked with students Jonathan Stopyra, Ilka Hadlock, Haley Chandler, Joe Cambareri, and their professor, Jennifer MacGregor.

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Transcript: 

I'm Jennifer MacGregor, 

I'm Ilka Hadlock, I'm undecided and I'm a first year. 

Jonathan Stopyra, I'm a freshman I don't have a major yet, class of 2013

I'm Joe Cambareri, I'm from Syracuse, NY, I'm a 2013 graduate and I'm a music major and Spanish minor. 

My name is Haley Chandler, right now I'm a French major and I'm from Cumberland, ME. 

For twelve days we were supposed to go without internet, cell phone and we were allowed to check out email once a day for academics and stuff but no Facebook, no anything else like for fooling around on the internet or calling or texting people. 

They had to keep a journal and this also allowed them to sort of vent their frustration about not being online and all I asked was every time they sort of what we called "cheated" and either went on Facebook or used their cell phone or something that they also journaled about it. 

I gave up Facebook, I gave up email.. 

Facebook, IMing 

I gave up my cellphone, no internet and no ipod. 

I like to download a lot of music so I gave up that. 

..didn't do any of the online shopping, didn't check the news, didn't check the weather online, we couldn't watch videos online or anything like that. 

I felt very restless; I worried that I was missing something important and I felt just sort of free-floating anxiety that the world was happening and I might be missing something. 

I'd be sitting at my desk doing homework and my computer would be sitting next to me and all of a sudden I'd get this really bad urge to get on Facebook or check my email and so I'd be like I can't do it I can't do it and then it would kind of go away and as the days went on it got a little bit easier, but then it just reached that point where I got sick of tracking people down. 
I think I made it like 6 days without a cell phone and then a few more days after that without Facebook and stuff. 

I think I use the internet less, I spend less time on Facebook now 'cause I realized what a time sucker it is and so now I think I'm better at controlling how many hours I spend procrastinating on it everyday. 

The internet is really a daily activity for me and basically every student on this campus, it was very difficult, because it's just taking something out of your daily routine for a week and a half. 

We've kinda changed our whole social interactions because of it and we never plan anything anymore and we kinda wait till the last second and be like 'oh what are you doing'? On the phone. 

And it's just so irritating in our society we have compressed so many things that were before in our everyday lives into the internet and like if we take away the internet so many things that we just used to have in general we wouldn't have, we'd have to compensate, it's kind of scary when you realize how much you loose when you don't have it. 

Overall, it was an experience, not something I'm interested in doing again to be honest with you but it really gave me a good outlook on how plugged in our society really is. 

I feel like we got a lot out of it, not just myself, I think we all did, especially in terms of kind of seeing who your real friends are. To me, the people who were my closest friends really made an effort to keep in contact with me in any way they could and so that makes you feel good about your friends and that even if you're off the grid with no cell phone and any of the ways that our generation tends to communicate with each other that they are still trying really hard to see you and so that felt nice.

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