Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Internet Usage

Originally written March 14, 2005

You have no idea how dependant you are on the internet at school until you’re thrust into a situation in which it’s not at your fingertips 24/7. I am in such a position here in Ireland. I can honestly say that I have a problem. I am addicted to the Internet. This may not seem abnormal, but trust me it is. The internet offered in my flat is dial-up and extremely expensive. How can I justify paying for, and using crappy internet when I could just as easily get off my ass and walk up to campus.
Using the internet on campus is not like using it at F&M. It is not for lack of resources. I think it is because as yuppy Americans we are used to it. We would rather communicate with people online than talking to them on the phone or go see them. I am not talking in absolutes, but generally. How many times have you IMed someone on your same hall, let alone next door to ask what they are doing? Here at University College Cork there are a couple computer labs. At certain times during the day there is at least a 30 minute wait to use a computer. There is no time limit for usage. The library closes at around 9:30pm and the only other computer option is closed at 11:30pm. That’s right no free internet past 11:30pm. No drunken conversations at 3am. No coordinating plans without texting on a mobile phone.
I come back to my main point of how I am unknowingly addicted to the internet. On days when class ends early, I can easily sit in front of a computer screen online for a few hours at any time. I should be reading. I should be taking in more sights. I should be doing anything else. But, sometimes I can’t help myself. I need to check my e-mail incessantly to see if anyone has written me a note letting me know they haven’t forgotten about me. I know people have not forgotten about me. That is not the point. I just need that confirmation. Maybe that is just a personal insecurity. I’m okay with that. I like to keep in touch with the people I care about and miss most.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that there could not be a truer statement that you do not fully appreciate what you have until you don’t have it anymore. I remember having the internet go down on campus for a couple hours and thinking I was going to have a heart attack. Everyone does it. Don’t deny it. You need to check away messages. You need to check your favorite websites every 5 minutes to see if anything has changed. You need to be in touch with “the world” as you know it. You might be asking yourself what you should do instead of surfing the internet aimlessly. I am not going to tell you to read or do school work, or even to go outside and play with the kids. Rather, call your friends. Hang out with them. Have somewhat meaningful conversations. Learn more about the people around you. So what if you live across the quad from them. I love it here but, I would exchange a 5 minute walk across F&M for my current 15 minute walk, 30 minute wait and 5 hour time difference to chat with friends.

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