Surviving Three Days Without a Cell Phone: Hellish, Torturous, and Never-to-be-Repeated

Sydney Piercy, Reporter

The Challenge

In an experiment for Fused Newspaper, I embarked on a quest to not use my phone at all. For three whole days. (Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.)

I turned off my phone at exactly 11:43 a.m. on Oct 31st, and that, my friends, is when hell began.

Day 1.  Monday.

Right after I turned off my phone, a part of me died inside. But other than that, life went on as usual in the Fused newspaper room at Bloomington North. I found myself asking everyone what time it was, and then that got annoying, so I just started checking other people’s phones myself. After third period, I pulled my headphones out of my bag so I could listen to music in the hallway as always, and then I remembered that my phone was temporarily deceased. So I just held my disconnected headphones and mourned my way through the halls. They looked grayer than usual. Sad, like me without a phone.

I walked to class, listening to the conversations in the hallway. Fourth period was a busy class, so I didn’t notice the absence of Helga (my phone). After school I went to basketball practice and the athletic trainer.  Usually my mom picks me up around 4:30 and texts me when she’s coming. However, since I was phoneless and empty inside, I had to wait 20 minutes for my mom, who was running late that day but couldn’t communicate it to me via text.

In all seriousness, in 2016 in high school, not having a cellphone is at least an inconvenience.

My second day, I started warming up to the hell of being without a cellphone.

Day 2. Tuesday.

I opened my eyes to the needy gaze of my dog.

I wished I woke up to my phone instead though. It plays my favorite song and makes my mornings so much more peaceful.

I overslept because my phone is my alarm clock in the mornings, so I woke up to my 125-pound lab standing on me, licking my face, which despite the slobber was sweet.

But here’s where it gets interesting.

That day at school I was a lot more aware walking through the halls.

I talked to more of my friends and wasn’t completely drowned out in my music. I walked and laughed with my friends, explaining to them why I didn’t respond the countless memes they texted me last night. I still missed my music though, especially when I saw other kids walking through the halls with their headphones in. Because high schoolers are annoying and sometimes you’ve just got to drown them out.

Also, I have never payed more attention to a lesson than I did that day. Without having Instagram to check and snap streaks to send, I actually learned in some classes, but was literally bored to tears in other classes. Sitting through 80 agonizing minutes of chemistry literally had me in tears. Even my best friend next to me put in headphones and I was left making drum beats with pencils while Peter Willis mumbled on.

In chemistry someone offered to send me some answers to a worksheet, but since I didn’t have my phone I couldn’t get them. So in a way, not having my phone kept me from cheating, but also kept me from an A on the assignment. Another con to not having at phone at school is when tutorial came. Since my computer is dead more than it isn’t, I had no way to quickly check where to go.

Thank God Tuesday night I was busy. I had physical therapy for my knee after school, then had homework that night.

I’ve noticed that the busier you are, the less you miss your phone. In way it’s loosely comparable to getting over a breakup. And honestly my phone is the closest thing I have to a boy-friend right now.

Since I didn’t have a phone to lay in my room and check twitter on, I spent the rest of my night at home bored, literally following my mom around the house while she made dinner and did mom stuff.

About five in the afternoon: “I like this no phone thing,” she said “it’s nice having you hanging out with me.”

About 7:30, a few hours later: “Sydney go outside and run around the house or something… burn some energy you’ve been talking for 2 hours.”

She loves me.

The time I missed my phone most though is right before I went to bed. I had no music to listen to, no social media gossip to check, and no friends to text. I sort of just stared at the ceiling until I went to sleep like I was in the fricking middle ages.

Day 3. Wednesday.

Day three I realized something.

I would not become enlightened just because I gave up my phone.  

I was waiting for the minute when suddenly I stopped missing my phone and was somehow enlightened and connected to the world and nature. Let me tell you. That didn’t happen.

I woke up late (again). However I got ready faster without the distraction of a phone in the morning.

I put my phone (still off) in my backpack and I went to school, honestly just waiting for 11:43 when I could have it back. It was like the countdown to New Years. First and second periods were boring. In first period everyone around me was listening to music doing silent work so I proceeded to talk to myself and actually do (start) my assignment.

The day went on and finally the clock hit 11:43.

I reached in my backpack and pulled out my beautiful phone. I turned it on to see a thousand angry messages from my friends who I either didn’t tell about my experiment or they forgot.  And some even angrier snapchats because people get salty when you lose the snap streak.

Honestly though, I was slightly overwhelmed at all the online activity I missed, so I spent all of third period scrolling three days back through Instagram and twitter. My biggest problem with not checking social media for a long time is that I’m going to miss something really important. I didn’t. It was nice being reassured that nothing life changing really happens online in three days.

So in conclusion, while I didn’t have a life changing, “I don’t even need technology anymore” kind of experience, I did survive, and a few good things did admittedly come out of it.

  1. Social media is not that important, and the world does still turn even if you don’t check twitter every day
  2. If you have cool parents, it’s nice to hang out with them sometimes.
  3. If you get rid of your phone for three days, ignoring people is a lot easier.

Cons that came out of this experience

  1. I now have PTSD
  2. I can’t survive without my phone ever again