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April 30, 2006

Media Fasting Reflection

Amanda Nichols
Dr. Jerz
EL150 Intro. To Literary Study
3 May 2006

The Sound of Settling

Unlocking my dorm in Brownlee Hall for the thousandth time this year, I step inside, pausing in the doorway to gaze at the unkempt single room. It is during times like these, as my first and last year at Seton Hill University comes to a bittersweet ending, that I cherish something so routine. I smile at the floor littered with boxes, papers, and food that should have been thrown away weeks ago. Plopping myself on my unmade bed, I look at the pictures of my friends, old and new, peeling with time off the concrete wall. “Media Fasting Week,” I suddenly remember, has ended today, and I am surprised at myself for not being excited to fill the room with white noise.

I think back on the week I forced myself to be cut off from things I enjoy: television before bedtime, iPod while running at the gym, and lots of loud music blaring from my laptop speakers. Not only has it been a much quieter week, but I have felt myself change as well. Without the constant music filling my room I felt more relaxed. All this time I thought I could write better with background noise; however, this week has taught me that I actually get my work done more quickly and efficiently without rowdy music disturbing me. I found I was never really interrupted (besides the occasional friend knocking to chat, which I really don’t mind) from my work because I did not have to constantly change the song to fit my mood in iTunes.

In addition, I feel I slept much better. Sure, I missed the comical voices of Drew Carey, Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, and Ryan Stiles singing me to sleep at night, but I definitely slept more soundly. Without having to constantly peek over the covers to see what was happening on Whose Line Is It Anyway? I fell asleep sooner and woke up less tired. Surprisingly, I managed to avoid all television. Well, almost. There was one exception, which certainly made me wonder about Seton Hill University. One night at dinner at the very beginning of the “TV Turn Off Week” they have been promoting, “Mean Girls” was loudly airing on a screen near the soup stand. No, I did not watch it, but it certainly gave my friends and I a good laugh.

I knew not listening to my beloved iPod was going to be extremely hard because the precious pink gadget literally goes everywhere with me. Hidden in a drawer to reduce temptation for a full seven days was definitely torturous; however, I only found it difficult for the first three days or so. As the week went on, I began to adjust not having the headphones in my ears on my way to and from classes. Instead, I tried to always find someone to walk with, and when I couldn’t, I used that time to think about all the assignments I have due in the upcoming days before finals.

Walking to and from classes was one thing, but running without music was more difficult and harder to adjust to. My daily trips to the McKenna Center have always included my iPod and the first four days were difficult. The time went by more slowly and it actually seemed quite tortuous. Then, a brilliant idea occurred to me: Run outside with friends. Yes, I know, it was an amazing discovery. So, by the end of the week I found someone to run with. The beautiful weather motivated me and running with friends made it go by much faster. Twin Lakes Park has a beautiful three mile trail and I enjoyed saving a part of my day for that.

Ironically, I think I became quite accustomed to running without music, getting homework done without background noise, and sleeping to nothing but the crickets outside just in time for “Media Fasting Week” to be over. As the days wind down, I cherish time spent with the Brownlee Buddies (as we call ourselves) over Drew Carey or blaring music any day. “Media Fasting Week” has probably affected me more personally than others, and more so than I thought it ever would. The experience of simply turning off the iPod and turning up socializing has made me realize how much media can easily take over our lives, even to someone like me who really isn’t that addicted. This has taught me to run outside when it’s nice out and limit my Whose Line nights to few and far between. So when the Comcast guy comes tomorrow to collect the overpriced cable I’ve been paying for all semester, I will gladly hand it over to him.

Posted by AmandaNichols at April 30, 2006 04:05 PM

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Amanda, I agree with you. It's like TV entraps us and we shouldn't be so obsessed with a box that shows us things that might not be good for us in the end. I loved last week as well because I got to hang out with everyone as well and I personally think that's a lot more fun than watching tv... I don't watch tv here at college much to begin with. It was fun!

Posted by: DanielleMeyer at May 5, 2006 11:45 AM

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