Every day tens of thousands of students are walking on campus, going to classes, meeting up with friends, going to sporting events and participating in student organizations. However, besides each student being a part of the University of South Carolina, there is one commonality that ties us all together. That is our constant use of our phones.
Being a part of Generation Z in the digital age, we have a perpetual media stream in our pockets. Our phones hold a wealth of information and vast abilities to communicate worldwide. However, something missing in our current age of communication.
Within our student body and almost the entirety of our generation, we are missing out on fundamental communication skills and conversations that we could be having in college. College used to be a place to share ideas, but because we have the accessibility to do that everywhere on our phones, conversations seem to be shallower than ever before.
Without the accountability and need for timeliness that is usually present in one-on-one conversations, there is a lack of reality to what you are saying over the phone. Body language and “tonation” are also things that you can’t experience through digital communication, and these are things that are deeply important to the way people talk with each other.
However, digital communication is not entirely bad. Phones and digital devices serve practical roles in communicating outside of our country and sharing different points of view that wouldn’t typically be heard day-to-day. Phones also bring niche communities of people together, where they probably wouldn’t exist in person.
Also, I am not one to judge. Phones are perfect to pull out in awkward situations such as the elevator and hallways, not to mention when everyone else has that same thought. Contrarily, using your phone before class limits you from truly engaging in the fundamental college experience.
Engaging in an enlightened conversation with a total stranger seems fairly far-fetched, however most conversations are based on the mindset people go into the conversation with. If you are talking to a new person and don’t really care where the conversation is going, you probably will not find any depth or true connection. However, if you have an open mindset while talking to someone new, you will find that connection.
Sometimes you have to lead by example and just drop your phone and start a conversation with someone. Who knows, maybe the person you have something in common. Maybe the person sitting next to you could be your future wife or the president. Wouldn’t it be cool to say that you talked to the president?
USC is a place of higher education and we should be dropping our phones and engaging with our surroundings. Ultimately, your college experience is what you make of it. If you want to be on your phone before class, do it, and if you don’t want to, that’s great. As college students we have the choice of what to do with our time. However, try to make those moments that we choose to speak to others meaningful.