Here at OneLife Institute, we have a technology policy put in place to help grow and nurture community and relationships that are built here. Students are not allowed to have their phones during the week, but they do get it for a time on Sunday to reconnect with friends and family back home. Another part of our technology practice is our “e-free” days where students are encouraged to do activities that are not connected to technology; so instead of consuming info on-line behind a screen, they are creating, building, or developing growth in themselves or the community. At OneLife, we are pro-community and not anti-technology because we believe that is where real growth happens.
So, the real question is, does any of this make a difference in the growth of our students?
The two questions we asked students were 1.) How has it been to live your life without your phone? 2.) What are you learning from not always having your phone?
Christian Lilly – “The technology rule was almost a deal breaker to me before I signed up. Yet, while I’ve been here its actually shown me how little I actually rely on it. I can count the amount of times I’ve wanted my phone in the middle of the day on one hand; and I know I’m not alone in this either. I normally get my phone back on Sundays and only use it to call my friends and family. This is because I have naturally found other ways to do things I used to rely on my phone to do.”
Jianna Wankel – “Being without my phone has been absolutely incredible. On top of the no phones during the week, my phone has been broken and my parents didn’t send it back yet. So I haven’t had it for about a month. It has been really good for me and my relationships here and I don’t miss it. I feel so free from drama and influences that make me miss the person I used to be. It takes off so much pressure. It takes away the excuse that I would use to not engage in conversation with a complete stranger. I realize the damage it does in our society because it really sucks you in. It is a gateway to an alternate universe that is way too highly valued because it is often used in negative ways. If technology and social media were not abused, they would be great resources but it is a balance and the scale is tipping in a way that people have become dependent on it. I have noticed even the simple things like GPS. Without it, it is hard to really do what you want without being anxious and getting lost. I am not going to lie though, I miss talking to my friends and family on a daily basis, but it makes me appreciate the time I spend talking to them even more. I am more intentional with my conversations.”
Riley Hanagan – “I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed not having my phone with me all the time. I actually don’t miss it at all. The connections I have made with other One Lifers has all been face- to-face–no interactions over social media or via texting–and these relationships have reached a depth and authenticity in one month that I haven’t found anywhere else. I have enjoyed the freedom to be all present wherever I am. I have learned to be ok without the instant gratification of Google, Siri, or maps (driving is a whole new adventure); this has taught me patience and pushed me to be more resourceful and creative.”
Ryleigh LaRue – “I have been surprised by how much I don’t miss my phone. OneLife is correct when saying they are not anti technology but pro community. I find that without a phone I am more engaged in relationships. I am not constantly on a screen looking at random people. Instead of Internet friends and relationships I have made real friends and lasting connections.
Madelynn Barrett – “It has been amazing. I am a millennial and I think not having my phone is amazing… that’s insane!! In all seriousness, I feel alive and focused on what I am doing here at OneLife. I am learning that the pleasures in life aren’t measured by likes or comments, life is so much more than that. I am learning that the mountains are prettier when you aren’t seeing them through a lens and that my community is here at OneLife.”
Sarah Harding – “Honestly, the phone rule was difficult at first, because we were all missing our families and friends, but now I don’t even notice that I don’t have a phone. The tech rules are one of my favorite things about OL, because we are relating on a level that is so foreign in a world filled with screens. We actually talk face to face, and when we are in a group we actually are present and not worried about keeping up with snapchat or instagram. The tech rules are a huge contributor to the depth of our relationships here. We are fully present with each other and it’s kind of amazing. If I could give advice to any prospective OneLifers I would say don’t be intimidated by the tech rules, because they are more good than bad for sure.”
Digital Marketer at OneLife Institute