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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Rachel Pott
Rachel Pott
News Writer

I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

A fight for survival: My media free day

For someone who works in media such as myself, and has a job that requires almost constant attention to trending stories in news and on campus, I thought the concept of a “media free day” would be impossible. However, last Friday, I powered down my computer and did my best to make it as long as possible without any contact with media.re-IMG_6454

To clarify, the term “media” in this situation does not just apply to newsprint and magazines, it also applies to music and advertisements as well. In theory, a trip to the grocery store would be fine, but grocery stores are also swimming with ads begging you to try one product or another. Knowing this, I was glad there was enough food in the fridge to tide me over.

The night before, I put away my phone in another room and changed my alarm clock settings so that instead of my usual radio station waking me up the next day, I would only hear an annoying buzz. I also made sure to hide my remote control under a sofa cushion so I wouldn’t be prompted to automatically turn on the TV as I had my morning cereal.

It was difficult to get to sleep once I’d gotten into bed, with a dozen different ideas swirling through my head. “What if someone calls me from work?” I wondered. My nightly ritual usually involves laying in the dark staring at the glowing screen of my smartphone while I peruse articles on Wikipedia or catch up on news and weather. I’d grown so accustomed to it that, when left alone with my own thoughts, I couldn’t relax enough to fall asleep.

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The next morning, the unpleasant sound of my alarm clock slapped me awake with the sweet sound of static. It was then that I remembered the experiment. After dragging myself out of bed, I experienced classical conditioning at its finest, instinctively reaching for a cell phone that didn’t exist.

With that possibility gone, I slogged through my morning routine blind to the world outside my windows. As a result, instead of thinking about the latest ISIS beheadings in Iraq, or the impending collapse of the global economy, I had more time to reflect on the day ahead of me and on the class assignments I had piled up for the weekend.

Rather than watching television with breakfast, I cracked open one of my textbooks on Russian history and worked through two chapters, a task that would have taken me twice as long with the distraction of Facebook open on my computer. In fact, instead of absorbing photos of a half-eaten dinner posted by some loose acquaintance, I actually felt like I was learning something.

Upon finishing my work, I stood to stretch and immediately noticed the pile of dirty dishes languishing in my kitchen sink. In a perfect world, I’d have added “housecleaning” to the list of verboten mass media that was controlling my day, but I realized it would be a good way to kill some time, so I picked up a sponge and got to work. Two hours later, with the kitchen sparkling and a pile of washed and folded laundry tucked away in my room, I found myself back at square one.

“Why not take a drive down to the park for some fresh air?” I asked myself. Into the car I went, making sure the radio was off before hitting the ignition. I arrived at Presque Isle Park within minutes, looking forward to a late morning stroll free from the distractions of modern society—that is, until I got out of the car. “Watch me whip, watch me nae-nae.” It was a riff from Silento’s latest jam, and it was emanating from a group of college kids on the edge of the park who were probably having more fun than me.

I had failed already, just three hours into my journey. Of all places it could potentially happen, it had to be in one of the most natural spots within the city limits of Marquette.

I thought of Robert Burns’ famous quote, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” My plans had definitely gone awry, but I still learned a valuable lesson on how much pull the media has in my life.

Had Maslow created his hierarchy of needs in 2015, I’m pretty sure Tumblr would end up somewhere next to man’s need to breathe.

Nevertheless, I don’t feel my experiment was in vain. I learned a lot of introspective details about my life, and also discovered that in 2015 it is still completely possible to take time out of your day to concentrate on the simpler things in life without the distraction of a digital device. Pick a random day and try it yourself—I survived, and so will you.

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