The Student Gazette -
Student Gazette

Technology alters personal connections
Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tammy Coffey is a sophomore at Columbia High School

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Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Tammy Coffey
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I’m sitting alone. Taking a cursory glance, I see people constantly hustling around me.

They’re trying to reach a destination that isn’t clear to me. Outside the window, I see speeding cars and ticking clocks. Somehow, a girl nearby walks in heels the size of skyscrapers, talks and chews gum while simultaneously texting on her cell phone. Somehow, she doesn’t seem to notice the teacher next to her struggling to carry some books.

Walking in the school hallway, a kid in steel-toe boots steps on the back of my foot and sends me flying across the hall, making my papers fall like snow. No apology whatsoever. He was on his cell phone at that moment, and probably posted on his Facebook wall, “Just made a girl smash her face into the floor.” Nonchalantly, I say, “It’s OK, I walk on them too.” However, he didn’t seem to understand my joke.

While reorganizing the papers, I have a sudden and puzzling question. Why do people only care about themselves? This question began to act like corrosive acid on my insides.

I go about my day and see people who look like they know where they’re going and what they’re doing. However, if I were to ask them where they where heading to, they’d probably say, “Uh, to class” or “To my house,” while not giving any thought to what I’m really asking. So, as I write this, I want to ask a question of you. Where are you going, and what does life mean to you?

Texting, tweeting and sending status messages seem to be natural daily functions to everyone, but these technologies can cause more harm than good. For example, whatever happened to telling someone your feelings instead of plastering them on a cyber wall for everyone to see? Is it really so difficult to hold the door open one more second for the person behind you?

There is a simple and rhetorical answer to these questions. Slow down. Yes, take a moment and breathe. Stop answering that phone every time it buzzes, and be sure to thank someone when they are kind. Give your crush a sincere compliment to her face rather than stalking her Facebook wall. Today is a new day, so enjoy the things you take for granted.

Look around and rejoice in the beauty, joy and hilarious moments in life. Share your emotions with others face to face, and reach out to people who are feeling lonely.

Have you figured out your answer to my question yet? So you still don’t know where your life is going? Well, I can only offer one piece of advice: Stop wandering around and waiting for your cell phone to give you directions. Put down that cold, manipulative piece of technology in your hand and hold the warm hand of a loved one, a neighbor in need. Let life guide you in its wonder, and don’t hesitate to pause and open your eyes.



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