I was without data for 29 days and here’s what happened

Like the headline? I’ve seen many articles where the writer goes, “I’ve done this and here’s what happened,” on “Buzzfeed” or “Bustle.” Without ever realizing it, I had a situation of my own that would fit this kind of headline.

And I am here to talk about that experience.

So I was without data for 30 days. I know, the idea of a millennial without their phone having internet or connection to the whole world in the palm of their hands, literally, is a huge travesty.

Okay, I’d be lying if I told you that having no data was easy.

I just moved back to Fredonia in May for the summer and was without internet for almost four whole days. Time was going extra slow those days. I procrastinated too long and didn’t make an appointment to have people set up my internet and box. My data was going to come back onto my and my moms’ new cycle that Thursday.  I get back my allotted amount of data t

Online, Internet, Icon, Tree, Leaves, Symbols, Www, Web

hat Thursdays and not even in 24 hours did I blow through 2 GB of data.

I am one of those people. I called my mom and she nearly had a heart attack over the news.

“Zoe Dimitra Kiriazis, how the *bleep* does one go through 2 GB of data in not even a day? Kim and I don’t even go through out one gig. a month!” she said. By the sounds of it, she was impressed, clearly not angry.

“1 day down, 29 more to go. I can do it!” I said.

“What’s a month without data because you know, the only way you can get connected to the world are the limited places in town that have Wi-Fi available,” I thought.

 

The first week or so were rough. I’m not going to lie. As millennials we’ve grown with the growth, privileges and modifications that have been made in the technology industry.  I remember in elementary school when kids started getting a Razor phone; you were the cool one if you got one of the colored ones.

This was also the start of knowing how to spell words based on numbers. Although a helpful skill to have, the next advancement in phone technology came about.

Then everyone would be getting the enV and env2 which included a T8-keyboard for an easier texting experience as well as the “flipped open keyboard selfie at the bathroom mirror” trend occurred.

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Then the iPhone started making its grand appearance and presence; it was then when cell phones became the next big trend and hit.

 

I didn’t have a phone until I got to high school and I didn’t get my first smart phone until I graduated high school. Every one of my friends had a smartphone of some sort, connected to the internet and Facebook like it was no big deal. At the time I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. If it was something of dire importance, I would check when I got home.

Well, I’m afraid I don’t have that same mindset now. I have to be connected with internet to keep up with what is going on in the world, who’s posted on Instagram and to keep filter of any emails that come through. Maybe it’s the curious bud within me or maybe it’s because I’m working to become a better journalist? I’m not too sure.

And while we’re being honest with each other, I check my phone way too much; sometimes I’ll even check it when I am talking to friends deliberately.

 

It’s out of habit, my foolish need to be on my phone when this rectangle is only 5.94 x 2.86 x 0.30 in.. I don’t understand how something so small and powerful can take over someone so innocently.

Having no data to escape to, I’ve found my conversations were more meaning some. I had more to say than when I didn’t have Facebook to check every 10 seconds, when I didn’t have to play against my opponents in Yahtzee or my horoscope to check randomly. When a conversation was at an awkward pause or standstill, I didn’t have my phone to default to. I had to figure out what to say next on the fly without the deliberate pause texting or private messaging naturally brings.

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All of this made me realize the bigger picture which is that we, as individuals, need to stop being so heavily reliant on our mobile devices. We miss moments when we are always on our phones, sucked into the dark hole social media can potentially drown us in and we don’t know how to communicate effectively when there is small screen in front of us.

We’re afraid to make phone calls because we don’t know what to say. We’re afraid of in-person interactions because we don’t know how to handle ourselves.

This is why I want to study communications because we have these tendencies that stem from something else which, in this case, is the protection of our phones from the rest of the world. Connections can’t form if we are hiding behind a small screen.

I’ve been working on not being on my phone as a case of protection. I’ve been using my words to truthfully talk to my friends and family. It’s a process to unlearn what you’ve grown up with but I want to detach myself just a little bit from my phone in order to fully appreciate all of life around me. We miss so much of what is happening now because we are so focused on something else.

I will always love my social media but I am realizing there is more to life than the statuses we post, the 140-character tweets, the likes on Instagram and who’s seen the latest YouTube video.

Tree, Social, Media, Structure, Networking

Being without data for 30 days was a lot to manage but it got easier as time went on. I can’t promise that I will have data remaining by the end of the cycle but I know it will last longer than 24 hours. And I will make sure I don’t use it when I don’t need to use it.

There’s a whole world to see but only some of us get to experience it when we’re not preoccupied with the uneventful.

Alright, I finally watched “13 Reasons Why” – Part 1

Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why,” has been out for over two months now and I finally gained the ability to watch it.

Having read the book, multiple reviews, press coverage and more on the show prior to watching the first season, I wasn’t thrilled. I wasn’t excited and was hesitant to become another viewer after reading all the mixed feelings.

But as someone who was bullied throughout her entire youth until she moved to Ithaca after the 7th grade, I didn’t want to admit that I could possibly connect to the show, even at 23 years old. In a few short paragraphs, here’s a synopsis of my youth.

I had only two friends growing up while I had to live through a series of name calling, death wishes on then hit social media site Myspace (R.I.P), had a fake Myspace account made of me, Twinkies thrown in my face, ridiculed for being another awkward pubescent teenager, fat-shamed, sexual harassed and was hated by a lot of people for no concrete reason. I was lonely, depressed and didn’t want to live anymore because of everything that was happening in my youth.

It will be 10 years this month, June 17 to be precise, when it all finally ended.  I became free of all the negativity, the name-calling, sexual harassment and hate.  I remember it all but I don’t hold grudges or hate anyone who did anything. There’s no point. It’s in the past and for one reason or another, it happened for a reason.

But it still happened. It’s in my box of memories that I can never forget. Its shaped who I’ve become as a young adult. And that’s why I connect with the character, Hannah Baker, for many of these reasons.

Watching the first season took me back to that time when I tried to make friends or tried to do the right thing and it backfired on me. I remember being touched by my male classmates and saying no to their gestures, feeling so violated I couldn’t even stop them.

I remember the rumors spread about me that went out to the whole school within a class period, out to people I didn’t even know or interacted with. I remember vividly being suspended out of school for defending myself as someone instigated a fight with me, and then having the blame for the bullying and fighting on me from all my teachers and administrators.

Day in and day out I would watch people stare and talk as I stood in my faded and worn out top red locker for two years in the 6th and 7th grade wings at Woodbury, confused as I tried to find the right words to say. Something to make it all stop so I didn’t have to cry myself to sleep each night.

It might be over 10 years ago by now but I still remember: faces and names and moments. No matter how hard I try I can’t change my narrative. I can’t make up what I have lived through.

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I didn’t lie and Hannah Baker didn’t lie about what she went through either. I believed every tape she made when I read the book and watched the series. You can’t make events; like being bullied, ridiculed, sexual harassed, and for Hannah and Jessica, being raped, up. It was her narrative to tell.

I connect with Hannah and I understand her motives. I understand why she wanted to kill herself. I understand why she made the tapes; in order for the other students to truly understand exactly what they did, how it stuck with Hannah and how those moments shaped her perception of the world and people in her tiny town.

Some people, in the show and some in real-life, think that making the tapes were all for attention. I don’t agree with the approach of what became of the tapes in the show but the motives are clear. There is nothing than a person who has experienced severe bullying wants is the straightforward, truthful answer to the simple question.

Why?

Why was I was the one ridiculed for so many years?

Why was I always touched when I said no?

What did I do that was so horrific that nobody wanted to be seen with me?

Why did you do it?

Why did so many people watch and not say a word?

Why me?

Just… why?

All Hannah wanted was an answer to the hell she was living in. Heck, that’s all I wanted growing up, too. Some I got, some I didn’t but I don’t need those questions answered anymore. Hannah was never able to receive a reason why but she gave her reasons why.

All I want is for teenagers and young students to not go through the hell and misery I went through or go through what Hannah went through depicted from a book to the screen.

If there is one lesson to take away from this show: words have more power than we recognize or believe they do. Words, hurtful and degrading words, are more powerful than the people who actually say them.

Be kind. Be good. Everyone is going through a battle you know nothing about. And bullying shows the character of the bully, not the bullied.

Part 2 featuring what I found enjoyable and powerful in “13 Reasons Why” will be coming in a few days.

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