Thursday, September 27, 2012

iExamen 1 - Jessica LaTona

Jessica LaTona

            I never realized how different everyone is when it comes to communicating with one another until I really had to pay attention to it.  Communication is such an important part of anyone’s day whether it be through technology or face-to-face.  When I was having a conversation with my roommate about an event with both attended a few nights ago, I noticed that when an exciting part of the conversation arose I would begin to talk with my hands excessively.  Being from an Italian background, I find it common to use my hands in normal conversations.  However, I noticed that when my roommate got excited during the conversation she just could not remain in her seat.  She had to keep moving or get up from her chair.  This showed me how people interact different to the same feelings or situations.
            Another thing I noticed was a common symbol of stress that my roommate and I share.  Whenever we are both doing our homework at our desks in our dorm, we both keep our hair in a bun on the top of our heads.  This may seem like a silly little fact to notice, but everyone deals with stress in his or her own way.  I have always done this to help keep me calm while doing my homework or any stressful situation that I need to concentrate on.
            The hour that I needed to disconnect from technology was pretty difficult.  I am a big awkward texter and I always have my phone in my hand, so having it off for an entire hour was a little hard to deal with.  However, being disconnected allowed me to escape into my own mind and think about whatever I wanted without worrying about answering a call, text, or email.  I was able to reach total happiness and be a peace for a full hour without any interruptions.  Being disconnected was the most relaxing, calming, and carefree feeling I have experienced.  I never realized how dependent I was on my phone or laptop until I could not use them.  I was so calm at one point I closed my eyes just to escape into my thoughts and I actually fell asleep.  Sleeping to me is the most relaxing thing I can do.  It also allows me to escape into my dreams, and keep me in a happy state of mind so I can be at peace from the moment I close my eyes to moment I open them.  Usually when I nap or dose off my phone will ring five minutes later and make me irritated.  That is not a good state to be in falling back to sleep.  I was glad I went the full hour and I actually went a little longer than an hour since I did fall asleep.

iExamen - Chris Stokes

             Throughout my life I have gone day to day without paying attention to how I interact with others or how much I use technology.  The iExamen project, which I chose to do this past Sunday, has really opened my eyes to these aspects of my life. Because of this project, I am now able to see how just how much of a role technology plays in my life and how if I can cut myself off from electronic communication, even for an hour, it will change my day for the better.
            When I woke up on Sunday, the first person that I saw was my roommate, Phil. He had been up for a little while and was actually waiting for me to get up so we could get something to eat. We immediately started talking.  The conversation, like all of my conversations with Phil, was very natural. It was not hard to talk to him at all and even though I do not remember exactly what we talked about, I remember not having to think of what I was going to say; I jut said it. Then, we left for lunch. I passed a few people I knew on the walk to Boulder and, inspired by the project, I stopped and talked with two of them. Because I am not close to these people like I am with my roommate, the conversation was definitely more forced. They were, however, very successful because it allowed me to observe the way I talk to people I am not that close with and look at the way they talk to me. In both conversations, I felt most comfortable keeping eye contact. I actually kept eye contact the entire time, except for when I would focus on body language. Everyone I spoke to all day used hand gestures. Although some people used them way more than others, no one kept their hands at their side for a whole conversation.
            Another thing that I paid attention to on Sunday was my conversations via text. These conversations were very brief and not personal at all. An example of this would be when I texted my friend Matt to see if he wanted to grab lunch with Phil and me. My first text to him, rather than saying hello or asking him how he was doing was “u wanna get lunch?” I did not realize how impersonal texting can be and how little effort people, including myself, put into having a conversation with someone electronically.
            Then, at four o’clock, I set aside my phone and cut myself off from all electronic conversations. This was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. It was also very nice. In this hour, I absolutely felt like I was more alert. In fact, I was actually able to see how many people were in their own world while trying to text or check their emails while walking to class. Being that I was not distracted by texts, I also felt that my conversations with people during this hour were better. Once the hour was up, I had a few texts that I had to respond to, but after I responded I wanted to put my phone away for as long as possible. I now realize that while technology is a good thing, it can separate us way too much from the people around us. This observation was very interesting to see and I definitely would like to limit my use of electronic communication in the future. 

iExamen 1 Mike Ray

Going into this exercise I assumed it would be a struggle due to my attachment to technology. Everyday I wake up and immediately check my phone for any texts, tweets or emails that I could have missed. Even though I may receive no messages, or half the tweets and emails are garbage, I still feel the need to check them. Having a girlfriend miles away and an overly protective mother, I had to inform them of this beforehand otherwise I would have been in a lot of trouble from over half my life.  In the end of that hour I felt I could have kept going. I had deeper conversations with people and lived life carefree and accomplished a lot. For the rest of the day, with technology, I still remained aware of how I spoke, to whom I spoke to, and the flow of the conversation. My observations were more interesting than I had expected. I noticed that when talking to someone for the first time, you naturally give them the “up-down”. I personally find that creepy so when I found out that I actually do that, I was a little shocked. I also noticed that I was naturally drawn to individuals tattoos and piercings right off the bat, as they are unusual and attract my attention. Another observation is that I tend to look people in the eyes when I speak to them. Some people look back, however others look away. Perhaps they feel this is awkward or unusual, but its how I was always brought up. Communication through technology was also observed. I noticed that since college, I make more phone calls now rather than text. Id rather talk then message. I also utilize Facebook much more to reconnect to my friends back home and abroad. My most important observation came later in the day when my mother called. Before college I wanted nothing more than to leave my house and be on my own, however now that I am living my dream I realize I had everything that I needed. I’m not afraid or embarrassed to say I need my parents and rely on them for assistance and support throughout my life. When comparing the two I realized that I need the best of both worlds. While I rely on technology for long distance relationships, I also need time to disconnect and get things done such as homework and relaxing. As this exercise opened my eyes, I learned most that I need to disconnect some point every day in order to achieve the best of both worlds.

Caroline Quinn- iExamen #1

I think that the iExamen is a significant association with the traditional Jesuit education and lifestyle and also aids in the awareness of self-analysis and our own personal lifestyle choices. I know for a fact that practicing the iExamen, it opened my eyes to the way I and others around me function. I really did enjoy this assignment because I don’t think I would have done this if it hadn’t been assigned to me. When I had first read the assignment, I was really skeptical and doubtful I could complete it but I am so grateful that I had a chance to participate and follow through with it. 
I chose to do the iExamen this past Sunday. This Sunday was like any other Sunday I’ve had here on the Loyola campus. My roommate and I slept in until about noon time and our day started out to be a lazy day. When I first woke up, my immediate thought was “Do I have any texts?”, so of course I had to check my phone for any missed messages. With this in mind, I did my routine “check up” on the social media apps on my phone. I had to go through and check my Facebook for any notifications and catch up on the Facebook timeline to see if there had been anything exciting happening from the ten or twelve hours I had been sleeping. Next, I had to check Twitter and see what had been going on and then from there I checked Instagram. I never noticed before but I felt as if my thumbs had been trained through muscle memory because no matter how sleepy or out of it I was, I knew by heart where to swipe and tap to go check up on my social media.
After all of this, I interacted with my roommate with face to face conversation. We talked about the previous night and what had happened through the course of the night. I noticed while talking, both my roommate and I used our hands the majority of the time to communicate with each other. I also noticed, that even though she was engaged in conversation with me, she was on her phone texting her boyfriend at the same time. I on the other hand, was not so dependent on my phone because I was the one doing most of the talking. After our conversation, we agreed that we were both starving so we got dressed to go have lunch in Boulder. My outfit of choice was sweatpants and a sweatshirt because I just did not want to put in the effort of finding an outfit to wear; my roommate did the same. I’m sure if people had noticed, they would’ve assumed that I just wanted to have a lazy Sunday in comfy clothes. 
While on our way to Boulder, I noticed that the people we were passing were for the most part wrapped up in looking down at their phone screens or even talking on the phone. I was actually surprised because some of them weren’t even watching where they were walking and a few of them almost collided with other students. When we got to Boulder, I chose to stand in line at the Boars Head Deli to get a sandwich. While waiting, nearly every student in front of me was looking down at their phones and from what I could see, some of them were scrolling through Facebook and Twitter. I brought this up in conversation to my roommate and she agreed that for the majority, people from our generation are completely dependent on technology of some sort. 
When we got back to the dorm, I chose that hour to turn my phone and computer off. My roommate was curious as to how it would work but she didn’t end up participating in it with me. In the hour that I removed myself from technology, I found myself to be at peace and not worrying about checking social media every ten minutes or replying to every text message I got in a matter of mili-seconds. That technology-free hour was so rewarding because it gave me a chance to reflect on how I had to communicate without my technology. I walked out into the common room to get a start on some homework and I observed that other other girls in there were so involved in technology. Three of them had headphones in listening to music, while typing on the computer and incessantly answering text messages. I just found it crazy that I am sometimes that girl doing exactly what they were doing in that moment. 
After the hour was up, I turned my phone on to have two missed calls from my parents and a few text messages from friends back home. Through the rest of my day, I had talked on the phone with my parents, texted classmates about homework questions, and video chatted with my friends from back home. At the end of the day, I was really surprised at how many ways I had used technology to communicate with friends and family. 
The iExamen had really been an eye-opener to how much the world and my generation especially has become so dependent on technology. Even though I had been at peace for most of the hour, when it came close to the hour being up, I found myself getting anxious and nervous about any missed text or emails or social media I had to catch up on. The lesson that I have learned from this assignment has been that I need to learn to take a break from technology sometimes and relax. I don’t always need to be up to speed on what the technological world has to offer and that I should be weary if I’m using or abusing my technology privileges. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jacqui Vetrano- iExamen

Jacqui Vetrano

I chose to do my iExamen on Monday, September 24th.  I have never had a day in my life dedicated to observing the details surrounding me during every minute of the day.  In a way I was nervous for this assignment, because I was unsure of how I really examined myself, the people around me, and my surroundings.  However I was also excited, I was excited because this assignment does not only build upon traditional Jesuit techniques of self-analysis, but it opens you up to yourself, and has you take a different perspective throughout the day observing ourselves, our environment and how we communicate with it, unlike treating it as just another day, as we often seem to do.
            As I began my day and my classes I passed by tons of students, I noticed students walking in groups, students walking alone, and tons of students talking on the phone or texting; everyone was preoccupied in their own way.  As I was observing these students around me I realized that so many of them were in their own world.  Whether it was students on their phone almost running into people, holding up the foot traffic behind them, as I sometimes do, or students walking by themselves looking down at the ground, into the trees, or searching through the crowd of students thinking they saw their friends.  As I was watching all of this go on I realized that I pass by these people all the time on campus but I never take the time to really analyze the situations, because like them, I’m in my own world, talking with my friends, or on my cell phone.  I couldn’t help but to think how interesting it was that every student that I passed by has their own life, their own story, and yet we were strangers busily passing each other by absorbed in our own lives, or our cell phones.
            While passing by students on campus their appearance was another thing that really jumped out at me.  There were so many different looks and styles that I saw.  I noticed students who were dressed very well for the day with dresses or nice polo shirts, and the students wearing sweatshirts or t-shirts.  There were so many different looks, tastes, and appearances all over campus that really expressed who that person was.  I found that I could gather a lot by a person just be noticing what they wore, their shoes, their backpacks or purses, the jewelry they wore, the way that their hair was styled or if they were wearing a hat or scarf.  However I only truly noticed these things when I wasn’t on my cell phone, or walking with friends, if I was doing one of those two things, I was occupied with them, and less involved in my surroundings. There were so many styles on campus that I felt I had never seen before, it made me realize that this diversity has been in front of me the whole time; I’ve just been too preoccupied to notice it.
            Throughout the day I also analyzed and observed myself and my own actions.  I realized that most of the time I’m in constant contact with my friends and family, always checking my phone right before class and immediately after class, or talking on the phone to and from class.  When I was on my phone in between classes I noticed that I paid a lot less attention to my surroundings and the phone call or text message had my full undivided attention.  However when I was in class and put my phone away, I become more involved in the class and the students around me, without the distractions my phone brings.  While I was in my classes I kept catching myself playing with my hair, putting my hands on my face, crossing my arms, tapping my foot, I was constantly fidgeting in some way which I had never realized before.  Throughout parts of my classes I found myself thinking of my next class, or homework that I had to do, I was always overloading my mind with tasks I had to do, which was exhausting.  When I would talk to students in my classes or friends I paid close attention to the eye-contact throughout the conversations.  If it was someone I was used to talking to I would make pretty steady eye contact as they would with me, whereas the people that I hadn’t talked to much there was less eye contact in the conversation, but most of the time I found that I would be smiling trying to make some kind of joke to lighten the mood and to make the conversation friendlier.  I was surprised when I realized that at least half the people that I would talk to in class were texting on their phone, on Facebook, or on twitter.  I always knew that this played a big part of our lives but I never realized how so many people are on it almost all the time.
            After my last class of the day I took my phone out from my pocket and turned it off.  I knew that this would be a bit of a challenge because since I have been at school I’m always talking to at least one of my friend’s, texting each other back and forth random things that have happened during the day.  I turned my phone off and continued to walk back to my dorm.  I immediately noticed how much more attention I gave to my surroundings.  I looked at the buildings, the sky, the people walking around, and I looked up when I walking, rather than looking down to check my phone every 10 seconds seeing if I had a new text or notification.  When I returned to my room my roommate and I headed to Boulder for dinner, leaving my phone and computer behind.  As we were eating I realized how much more involved I was in the conversation and where I was.  When I have my cell phone on me and I’m with other people I realize that although I’m there physically, half of my attention is to my phone, and I don’t always pay complete attention to what or who is directly in front of me.  I noticed how my roommate would ask me to repeat what I was saying because she was distracted with her cell phone and not paying close attention to me at times.  However within the hour, it was nice to feel completely present physically and mentally in my conversations and my surroundings, without the distraction of my phone or computer.
            The iExamen experience was a new one to me; it was really unlike anything I had done before.  Although I was nervous with the assignment it ended up showing me a lot in my everyday life that I hadn’t realized before.  It showed me how much of my time and life revolves around my cell phone and computer, constantly having to communicate with people.  It brought to my attention the little things in life that I’m constantly walking past without acknowledging.  Without the distractions of my phone or computer I felt more present in my environment and in tune with my surroundings.  Now that I have done this observation and self-analysis I’m hopeful that I’ll take more time to be fully present wherever I and whoever I’m with and appreciate the time that isn’t dedicated to phone, or computer.

iExamen Nik Lelifanovski

While technology is by definition not a part of nature, it has become a part of the nature of the life of most individuals in the developed world.  Although in my own life my use of technology tends to help me to connect with my family and friends and to meet new people, it also distracts me from noticing possibilities that are directly in my vision and it sometimes impedes me from self-reflection.  It is an aid and a hindrance; an opportunity and a crutch. As I experienced the iExamen, my reflections on technology's influence on my life have certainly encouraged me to consider aspects of my life that are lacking in authenticity and also opportunities I am missing, but ultimately I believe that technology is an intrinsic, vital part of my existence.
Technology is inextricably intertwined in my daily life - social, intellectual, and personal. As I wake up every morning, I check my phone and check all my Facebook notifications then my twitter. Then I hurry and get dressed and walk to class while texting and search for information on my phone. I walk outside and do not look what is in front of me because I am so distracted by the text messages that I receive on my phone. I keep refreshing Facebook hoping something new would appear on my home page, giving me a small, narcissistic bounce. I realized that my social life is lackluster because I am absorbed with text messaging and using my laptop to communicate. I noticed that I miss opportunities to speak with people in person because I am too busy checking my text messages or reviewing missed calls that I receive during class. By contrast, I have realized that I do protect my intellectual life from the distractions from technology because I turn everything off during class. As I reflect through this iExamen test, I am somewhat disturbed to realize that my use of, relationships through and relationship with technology contribute substantially to my own sense of self worth.
Technological deprivation is just as disorienting as sleep deprivation - at least for me. On Sunday afternoon, I divested myself of my electronic accoutrements for the iExamen.  For this dreadful, hour-long experiment, I went outside and wandered around, admiring the beauty of nature, which I had mostly not noticed before.  The juxtaposition of my discomfort with technology's influence on my self-worth with my discovery of how beautiful our campus is encouraged me to contemplate other wonders I may have missed. I noticed that this space, barren of technology, was more peaceful but also less engaging, less frenetic but more idle.
When I returned to using technology I wondering which reality is more illusory. Am I dreaming through social media, or would life be less authentic without all these ways of communicating and connecting?  For me, I believe, technological connectivity is natural.  When using my technology again, I felt that I had returned to the "real world," and I was eager to reconnect with schedules, events, and updates.  If I wanted to take the experiment to the next level, I would spend a weekend in the woods, on my own with my thoughts and nature, but, alas, I suspect Walden Pond is beyond this modern man's capacity.

IExamen- Tyler Murray

The day I chose to do my self-analysis/observation was last Saturday. I was really sick and slept until 2 p.m. even though I went to sleep at 10 the night before. I woke up to my roommate and 4 of my friends barging in through the door laughing and yelling which put me in a great mood to start the day. I forced myself awake, threw on a hoodie with no undershirt, and started walking to Boulder. Based on my wardrobe, facial expression, and heavy steps I was taking, the public should have taken notice that this was not the day to mess with me. Even in my Dayquil stupor, I smiled at the majority of people that I passed, said hey to those that I recognized, and helped a girl pick up her package off the concrete. No matter what condition I am in, I always use humor as a method of communicating with people. It helps me feel more relaxed and connect with others. To be honest, I’m amazed that I paid as much attention to my day as I did.
            Though this day was not normal considering how sick I was, the majority of my behavior did not change. My personality is a contradiction because I consider myself a shy, outgoing person. Most of the time, I will not go out of my way to talk to someone I have just met but if they engage me first, I have no problem having a conversation. I’m far from socially awkward and very friendly but sometimes I may not convey that through my body language or tone of voice. This day was a perfect example of that.            
            I was wearing a hoodie, lacrosse shorts, and moccasins with socks. I looked like I had gotten dressed in the dark, which I did. By wearing a hood for the majority of the day, I physically limited my peripheral vision. Therefore, I did not see a lot of the people that I passed around campus. Also I was looking down at my phone for the majority of my time outside of my room because I’m constantly writing down song ideas and lyrics. Even when I feel like crap, writing still comes easily to me and makes me feel better.
            Other than writing in the notes app in my phone, I rarely use it. I don’t hate technology but I think it detracts from the importance of face-to-face conversation. I noticed how many people hold on to their phones like it’s the pin to a grenade and check them even in the middle of a conversation. I always thought it was rude to do that. The main reason I was able to see how many people were constantly on their phones is because I was not constantly on my phone. The majority of communication today is through technology because it is easy and widespread. Seeing girls go up to one another and say, “did you get my text?” They then react to that text and spend the rest of their conversation scrolling through Twitter and Facebook.
            I didn’t struggle at all when I separated myself from all electronics because, if you can’t tell, they don’t play a significant part in my life. The only downside was that I couldn’t listen to music so I went and played piano which is the next best thing. My main method of communication is through my music. My most personal, honest words are written in my red notebook, on my phone, or six strings. That’s not to say that the rest of the ways I communicate are less important or truthful. I just feel like my music and music in general is the most important, significant form of communication there is.
            This exercise made me realize how many ways of communication there are and how unaware I was of the majority of my own ways of communication. Whether its my clothing or telling people that I’m never on Facebook, communication definitely impacts my life.  

iExamen-Haley Pollard

Haley Pollard
Understanding Literature
Dr. Ellis

1st iExamen

            The iExamen is a technique that allows one to observe and reflect upon one’s self, image, behavior and other characteristics that make one unique in order to get a better understanding of how one interacts and communicates with others. Overall, an iExamen can help to clearly and effectively enhance one’s communication skills with others by encouraging self-reflection upon one’s behavioral and interactive skills. During the time of my iExamen, I came across quite a few challenges but also gained a greater understanding of myself. By making casual observations about my appearance and mannerisms, I learned to see myself in a new and different
I had my doubts about whether or not I would be able to observe anything significant that could change the way I interact with others. I found that initially it wasn’t what I would say to people that would make the difference; it was the perception that I built around myself that would. From there I shifted my focus to my appearance and the way I thought people perceived me. I realized that I constantly smile all the time, not only because I consider myself a very jovial person, but because I know that even the little things, like a smile in the hallway, can make a person’s day at least that much better. I also noticed that I keep a mental checklist when I’m conversing with someone: keeping eye-contact, not fidgeting, and listening to what people have to say rather than making the conversation about myself. I find in most cases that people love to talk about themselves. Therefore, I found that by showing interest in the person I was talking to I was able to make them feel that much more comfortable around me.
Technology is something that, in today’s society, is a necessity in order to stay connected and socialize with the rest of the world. I felt as though it would be cheating to say that I turned off all the technology in my room while I was at lacrosse practice; it’s safe to say that it would defeat the purpose of the assignment. Instead I chose to spend my hour technology-less outside at a bench doing my homework. It was probably the longest hour of my life, considering for a majority of it I was reading about Pythagoreans and Nietzsche philosophy. But I guess looking back it was probably just a nice way to relax and forget about what was around me. I’m not saying it was something I’d want to do again and again, just being realistic. I found that after my hour was up I went back to my room to check my phone for any notifications like always. I do, however, think that it was a nice way for me to get all my homework done. Maybe next time it won’t be an assignment taking away my technology that will keep me from procrastinating.

iExamen - Katherine Mosher

This iExamen has allowed me to realize how often people rely on technology as a means of communication. My self-analysis started on Monday morning at 8:30 am. After subconsciously shutting off my phone alarm three consecutive times, I finally opened my eyes to check my missed text messages and notifications from the night before. Due to the fact that I am not a morning person, I noticed that the texts I sent in the morning were not as peppy as the texts I sent later on in the day. My tone of voice in my text messages clearly resembled my mood during that period of time. After I got out of bed, my roommate and exchanged a quick “good morning” and continued to rush to get ready for our morning classes without saying another word.
As I walked out of my dorm building, I greeted several of my friends that were on their way to a class or boulder with a brief “hello” or “good morning”. Since it was still relatively early, many of the students I encountered were dressed in sweatshirts or sweatpants armed with a cup of coffee, ready to tackle the day. The majority of students were entranced with different forms of technology. Many students were texting, some were talking on the phone and others were struggling to finish typing an essay or studying a PowerPoint in time for class. People appeared to be less talkative in the morning compared to the afternoon. This was evident as I noticed many students sitting alone in boulder compared to the afternoon as many of the tables are filled with students.
After my economics class finished, I stopped for a bagel in boulder where I met up with a few friends. People were considerably livelier compared to an hour prior. My friends and I discussed our classes, homework and proceeded to check up on new Facebook pictures posted from the weekend as we walked back to our dorms. During my two-hour break between classes, I disconnected myself from electronics and finish some homework before my afternoon classes. When turning off my phone, I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to last a full hour without checking my phone. During this period of time, I discovered that I worked more efficiently and productively. I tried to focus my energy on completing my assignments but I often found myself thinking about any missed phone calls or text messages. I wanted to check my phone but I knew I needed to prioritize my time and finish my work without any distractions. I didn’t realize how my mind was completely encapsulated by technology all the time and its impact on how we live our life. It is surprising to think that we are so absorbed by technology that we would choose to communicate via text rather than face to face.
In the afternoon, many of the students I talked to were noticeably in a better mood compared to the morning. Walking in the quad, I saw many more people smiling and laughing with friends rather than keeping to themselves. Instead of brief conversations on the way to class, many people would stop to ask how your day is going. I thought the overall mood shifted from negative to positive as the day progressed. Later on in the day, I went to cheerleading practice. Naturally, the girls are extremely peppy and spirited which is evident by their body language. More often than not, the girls on the squad will greet each other with hugs and proceed to stretch in a circle to allow everyone to participate in conversation. In cheerleading, communication is vital in order to guarantee a successful routine. Each girl in the group must alert the other girls if there is a problem in the stunt in order to avoid injury. By working together as a team, we learn how to communicate effectively and build trust in each other. By the end of the day, I realized that effective communication is possible with and without technology. People appeared to be just as happy, if not happier when talking to their friends face to face rather than sending them a text. Observing the differences in how people present themselves and communicate with one another during different times of the day was an interesting discovery.