I chose to do my iExamen on Sunday, September 23rd. I purposely chose this day because I finished my homework and studying, and knew that I would be able to socialize rather than spend my day in my room doing homework. When I woke up around 8:30 AM, my roommate, suite mate, and I, went to get coffee together. My suite mate and I had to be up early this day because we had a field hockey game at 10 AM, though I am not typically a morning person. I observed as we sat in Boulder that most people who were there, though there weren't many, seemed happy to be there. I'm almost certain every person we saw waved hello or said good morning to us. For the most part, it seemed as though everyone who was up at what I would typically consider the ungodly hour of 8:30 in the morning, definitely enjoyed mornings and was in a cheery mood. While I can honestly say that I feel that just about every encounter I have with people here is a friendly one, my first observation of my iExamen was that the general aura of the Sunday morning, voluntarily early-risers differed slightly from that of the fellow students I encounter each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on the reluctant walk to 9 AM class. It was interesting to discover that there were, to my surprise, actually college students who purposely woke up early on Sundays, during the time in which I would typically have been dead to the world in the warmth of my bed.
When my suite mate and I got to our field hockey game, I listened and joined in on conversation about how tired we were, how early it was, how everyone's weekends had gone, and how much homework people had saved for Sunday. I noticed girls (myself included) making frequent references to how little sleep they had gotten over the weekend, almost as if to assure each other that we did not have boring weekends. I found this funny after thinking about it. The pre-game/warm-up chatter was very reminiscent to me of my high school. Not only had the setting itself reminded me of high school, since I briefly played field hockey there, but the fact that I was in the company of only girls had me feeling like I was back at my all girls Catholic high school. The presence of boys at school has definitely been a change, but one that I enjoy and have already become used to. When I was surrounded only by girls like I was in high school, I found myself observing the manner and subject matter of our conversation. Just as I'd remembered, when there are no boys present, what else could the main topic of conversation be, if not our absent male counterparts themselves? I definitely felt like the majority of our sentences started with, "He's so...."or "Oh my God!!!" or "Did he text you yet?!" I found it funny that since being here I could really differentiate between the dynamic of single sex conversation versus conversation in mixed company.
After the game, not at all to my surprise, I checked my phone and was greeted with 5 text messages. The first from my roommate wishing me luck at my game, and telling me when to meet for lunch. The second from my cousin, also about meeting for lunch. And three from different friends from home, in regard to when would be a good time to Skype and call each other to catch up about how we spent our weekends. I have since observed that texting is such a large part of how I communicate with people, and that having 5 messages waiting in my inbox did not at all faze me.
When I got lunch with my friends and cousin in Boulder after my game, I observed that even while eating with each other, everyone in the cafe, ourselves included, was on their iPhone, or other smart phone. I didn't find it alarming, as it was something I've become so used to. However, after thinking about the concept later on, I did find this slightly unsettling. I found it sadly funny that people, including myself, rendezvous for breakfast, lunch, and dinner only to sit in the company of others who are involved not only in the real time conversation taking place at the table, but also in 6 other virtual conversations simultaneously occurring via Facebook, Twitter, and text message.
When I returned to my dorm, I called my mom, just to tell her about my field hockey game and anything else I found news worthy. I asked how everyone was doing and after about 10 minutes realized I didn't have too much to report. I asked her to put my dad on the phone for a quick second just so I could say "I love you." Then, I called my Mom-Mom, like I do every Sunday and told her the same. After these actions, which I typically don't think about, I realized that sometimes I don't have anything to say to my parents or Mom-Mom, but I still make a point to call just to tell them I love them. I realized it's important to me that they know this, and that speaking it to them is necessary for me, and a text message does not suffice for certain emotions. I also Skyped with two of my best friends from home, and told them the same.
I decided it was time for my electronic-free hour. I turned my phone off, shut my laptop, and, for the first few minutes honestly didn't know what to do with myself. My roommate was at the library, so the sudden silence in my room was a bit startling. I decided I'd read a bit for my Philosophy class, and then suddenly realized I couldn't remember what pages we were assigned. I went to log on to Moodle when I remembered I couldn't do that for another 40 minutes. So, I switched to studying Statistics instead. The number of times I wanted to check twitter or Facebook during the hour was admittedly embarrassing. Another thing I found interesting was that despite my phone being in the off position, I kept reaching for it and even holding it in my hands. This made me realize that there really is never a time that I'm without my phone. The other thing this quiet hour made me realize is that I am hardly ever in complete silence. When I'm at home, there are 5 other people in my house, and never a quiet moment. In my dorm, I'm always talking to someone in person or virtually, or at least listening to music.
Another part of my day that I found interesting was when I went to the common room in my dorm at 8:30 PM to watch the Ravens/Patriots game. I'm a huge Ravens fan and was literally surrounded but Patriots fans. Sitting in the common room I met alot of new people and we bonded over football and friendly trash talking. It was interesting to me how I could enjoy myself so much watching a football game with a room full of rivals.
At the end of my day, as I lay in bed, phone in hand, as always, I thought about my observations. I observed a few things. First, I realized in observing other people throughout the day how friendly everyone here really is. Secondly I realized that silence is something much too foreign for me. I noticed that I really do use my phone and computer at an almost incessant rate, and that it really doesn't hurt to give either of those things a break. Through this iExamen I discovered that I'm definitely someone who must be doing something at all times. Throughout the course of a day, I talked to people in person, used twitter and Facebook, and texted, called and skyped multiple people. These aren't bad things, but I realize now that they are much bigger part of my life than I thought.