An iExamen builds upon traditional Jesuit techniques of self-analysis, to help one become aware of the ways in which one communicates daily, and to help one hone those methods of communication, so one conveys their meaning clearly and effectively. This was the first iExamen I have ever done. Initially reading the instructions, I questioned whether or not I would be able to successfully perform the actions required. I had self-doubt about whether or not I would be able to really dig deep and observe my communication with others and the people around me. I also was questioning my ability to go one hour with electronic communication, as I am constantly on my phone or Facebook. This experience really changed my attitude towards my communication with others and shed a new light on who I really am.
I picked a Sunday to do this iExamen. Upon waking up, I looked inside myself to really process the way I communicated with others. My first interaction was with my roommate, Jordan. This was one of the more significant conversations I had all day. I noticed that I talked with my hands, and I said what was on my mind. I noticed that Jordan also talked with his hands, and that there was always a smile during our conversations. I equate this to how comfortable Jordan and I actually are, since he is my roommate, and my best friend. During the rest of the day, I also tended to notice people’s ways of sticking out. I noticed tattoos and nose piercings and lip piercings and more. My observation of how people looked when they communicated was something completely new to me. I have never noticed this much about a person before. Body language was also something I tended to notice. I observed that many people have habits of swaying or doing things with their hands when they have a conversation. As I mentioned before, I noticed that I talk with my hands. Even in electronic communication, I could notice when someone did not want to talk versus when someone wanted to have a serious conversation. I observed that when people had one-word answers, which meant that they did not feel like talking. I observed within myself that I tend to use smiley faces and exclamation points often.
I went one hour without using electronic communication. At first, I thought it was going to be impossible because the only time I do not use my phone is in class or at the gym. On this Sunday, I decided to take one hour that I normally use my phone and computer, and I turned them off. At first, I had the urge to go on Facebook and update my twitter status saying, “Turning my phone and computer off, if you need to talk to me, leave me a message.” But I ended up deciding to just let go and not worry about it. That hour was one of the most relieving hours of my life. I had no worries about texts coming in or emails I needed to answer or Facebook messages I needed to answer. It was a sudden realization of relaxation and peace. Even though I was studying for an exam, I am no worries and no other distractions. It was a beautiful thing. I now want to turn my phone and computer off for one hour every day, just so I have that peaceful time where I don’t have to worry about who is trying to contact me and why. When I turned my phone and computer back on though, the stress came back and the peace went away. I was hounded with emails and texts and messages that I felt I needed to answer. I noticed the tension returning in myself, and I noticed that the peace and serenity of no technology went away fast.
This iExamen was a wake-up call. I expected that it was going to be rough at first when reading the instructions. I thought I could not handle an hour without electronic communication. I proved myself wrong though. I ended up noticing more about myself and others during the day. I noticed and observed the way I communicate with others, and the way they communicate with me. The hour without technology was a blessing in disguise. I felt that I had no worries and in a way I felt that I was free. This exercise taught me a lot about myself and how I interact with this world.