I don't wish to complain about my scholarly responsibilities though. Instead, I'd like to discuss how being a student and residing in Paris have completely transformed my relationship with technology. While living in New York, I made it a point to turn off automatic updates and iPhone notifications, to read real books on the subway, and to not listen to my iPod on the walk home. I fully intended to maintain these unplugging "rules" in Paris. What I wasn't expecting was to use a Nokia cell phone from the 90's nor rent a wi-fi-less apartment.
But for however "inconvenient" my current situation may seem, I appreciate it. Being a little less connected helped me to hone in on those forgotten student skills and it certainly promotes doing one thing at a time. Believe it or not, "heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress," as Matt Richtel wrote in a Your Brain on Computers article. More evidence can be found in Nicholas Carr's The Shallows; I just read it for a class.
Personally though, my primary concern is not how "social media is ruining our minds", but how much not being on social media, my cell phone, nor my computer encourages me to simply engage in the real world--to make friends over coffee (or tea), to wander through markets and into gardens, to truly experience Paris and beyond. The first and third photo, for instance, were taken on a quiet weekend morning in Versailles. In other news :) I hope you all have a wonderful week up ahead. I'll be very busy with grad school, but spring break begins Friday afternoon. I can hardly wait to share the adventures I have planned for it.