For many students, mobile phones and laptops are an essential part of everyday life. Without them, we could not find assigned reading, submit assignments, nor take advantage of various university services. Emails, zoom seminars and group projects would be impossible.
Over the past two decades, technology has made enormous advances. Our socio-economic processes have had to adapt, to keep pace with such rapid changes. Technological advances have shaped the world in which we live and work, shown by the rise in popularity of instant messaging, video calls and social media.
However, technological progression is not without notable drawbacks. It has become increasingly difficult to "switch off" from the online world, and focus on the simple pleasures everyday life can bring. At the turn of the century, it was as easy as turning off your computer and leaving the room.
The rise of websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter have blurred the line between professional and personal activities. This has led to many spending extended periods of time online, which would otherwise be spent in person with family and friends.
At the turn of the century, it was as easy as turning off your computer and leaving the room.
Within a lockdown environment, students can become trapped in a cycle of online activities. Our social lives are now restricted to chatting to friends online, which supplements days filled with online studying and research.
Recently, I have tried to ensure I give myself at least two periods each day, free from social media, Snapchat and screens.
I fill this time with any number of activities, which can be as simple as going for a walk. I find exercise or reading also stimulates a positive endorphin release, which counterbalances the vegetative state I often enter after hours in front of my laptop.
Despite making only small adjustments to my daily routine, even a couple of hours without technology has allowed me valuable time to refocus and recharge.
I recognise that everyone is different, and reliance on technology varies. However, even short breaks will do wonders for positivity and productivity. I inevitably find myself finishing a workout or a book chapter in a much better frame of mind than when I began.
It is said variety is the spice of life. In the current pandemic, the old adage could not be more relevant.