Departure! The countdown is on...

March 25, 2009

Connection Leads to ...Isolation?

It is very rare to walk across campus and not see at least one person talking on a cell phone or to even sit through an entire class without hearing the ring or vibration of someone's phone at least once. With modern day technology we are increasingly becoming connected: cell phones, wireless internet, instant messaging. What does all this technology mean from a sociological perspective? How does it influence the way we shape our communities and societies? I remember talking about this in an English class last year when we were discussing isolation and alienation among the characters of different novels.

It would seem with all of our mobile devices that we are more connected than ever, and advancements in technology are ever increasing this. But how connected are we really? If we look at all those walking and talking on their phones or texting, they are totally absorbed in what they are doing, how much are they noticing of the world around them? It would seem that by being 'connected' to phones or whatever else we are isolating ourselves in this little bubble of technology, not really a lot of human communication going on. So how do we build community with people who we rarely see or talk to face-to-face? At the same time as we are connecting to the internet and our cell phones we are disconnecting from actual human interaction. I return, once again, to Freire's statement that dialogue is necessary for all humans. I guess you could argue that texting is like talking to someone, same as facebook and instant messaging, but in most cases it seems so impersonal. Let me just log onto msn to have meaningful discussion interrupted by emoticons to try to display my feelings. I guess I just feel that when I type something with exclamation marks and smiley faces or frowning faces, its just not the same as if you could see my actual excitement or hear in my voice how disappointed I was. And when you're having a bad day, how about I'll send you something that looks like this: *hug*, doesn't that make you feel good?

I'm no different than everyone else, I too am rather attached to technology, I think I check my e-mail about every 10 minutes, as if when someone send me a message they need an immediate response. I guess this summer I am looking forward to the interaction I will have with others in the community where I will be staying. I will probably not have a cell phone and internet may be a 20 minute bus ride away. It will be different not having all this technology everywhere, but I think I will appreciate it. As others have said, I look forward to getting away from technology and having a more simplistic lifestyle. I hope that when I return I can appreciate more the technology that we do have available but at the same time be less attached to it and more attached to actual people through relationships and friendships and working among the community.

March 11, 2009

A sense of Calm

This post was written March 9, 2009.

The title is somewhat contradictory to my last post considering it was in fact written before. I guess the only explanation I have is that at times I have this amazing sense of peace about everything, and at other times, like when I look at my to do list and start thinking about all that needs to be done, I feel overwhelmed.
Yesterday, I was talking to our amazing Beyond Borders prof and I told her that usually I'm ok if I just don't think about it too much. She told me I should put a sign on my wall saying "Don't think" and I could even make it bilingual if I wanted to! This is good advice because every time I start over-thinking everything that is coming up in the next month and a half of school and then leaving for the summer, that's where the sense of drowning comes in.

so here's the post that has been sitting on my desk for the past 2 days, (there is some repeat form the last post):

Tonight I was in the chapel at Saint Jerome's University and I had the most wonderful inspiration. It has been a long time since I have posted and I have been worrying about that because I wanted to write but I wanted it to be meaningful. So here goes.

In the past week or so, school has become very busy on top of Beyond Borders preparations. I love both but at times my 'to do' list becomes rather long and daunting. So for me on Monday morning this week had already started out as a worry week.

Tonight though, I went down to the Chapel to do my prayer & reflection time that I try to do each day. As I knelt in the Chapel and just let myself be still I felt this amazing sense of calm and peace settle over me. When I opened my Bible I came upon the story of when Jesus and His friends are in a boat, Jesus is sleeping and a storm comes up and His friends are worried so they wake Him and He commands the storm to stop, and immediately it becomes calm. And then He asks them: 'Why were you so worried?'

Now as I sat and let the familiar story settle in a totally new meaning became clear.

My worries are the storm and when I give in to them I start to toss on the waves, but when I run to Jesus he calms the storm that's raging inside me. I can almost see him lovingly shaking his head and saying "silly girl, why do you worry yourself into such a storm?"

I immediately felt the need to write about this and one of my major worries had been my rejecting this blog. Thank you Jesus for answered prayers and inspiration.

A few parting words of wisdom offered to me by my roommate on one of my previous worry days:

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (New International Version)

March 10, 2009


This entire past week has felt like a struggle. I feel unable to pinpoint any one source but I feel that I am constantly struggling with everything. Yesterday I had a midterm that was fairly difficult and so all last week was spent studying for that and finalizing details for our pancake breakfast fundraiser on Sunday (which I will speak of in a bit). I was so focused on those two things that I fell behind in many other small things that have all added up. I have several novels to read for my classes, an essay to write and a fundraising event coming up this weekend. My to do list seems to be growing exponentially every few minutes and the amount of items that get transferred from one day to the next leaves with a sense somewhat like drowning. Speaking of drowning, I could not focus today until I cleared the sea of debris from my desk that had accumulated from the past week's busyness.
On top of all else I have been hard-core neglecting this blog, which actually saddens me because I was missing but didn't have any idea what to write and wanted to write something meaningful.

Despite all else I have found a great support network with my Beyond Borders class. In planning the fundraiser I feel I have come to know many of the other students a lot better and I guess I really just realized how much we're all in this together. I have found that the other students are so supportive and have a way of just popping up and saying the nicest things to absolutely make my day when its 9 in the morning and its already not going well. Offering a hug of reassurance when I'm over-stressing and just trying to generally trying to do too much. Or sending a quick message to wish me well on my exam. It's really all the smallest things that mean the most. I guess this is really saying thank you to all of you, you're more than wonderful :) I can't wait to spend more of our time together and to learn more about everyone. Also, thanks to our prof, whom I had the most wonderful reassuring talk with today.

That's all for now but rest assured there is more coming soon. I actually have another post sitting on my desk but it was written in semi-darkness last night, so I will have to decipher it and then I will post it :)