In the World of No TV: experiment

Photocred: www.digitaltrends.com

The Temptations of the Screen
Photocred: http://www.digitaltrends.com

For seven days, I am going to give up Television. TV has always been more than an entertainment factor for me. I have found myself slowly over the years using television as an excuse not to leave my house or my room. I found myself wanting to watch it rather than make the effort to get dressed and meet up with friends or even make plans. I found myself removing myself from others and reverting to TV as a haven and an excuse to not interact with the world. TV became more of an excuse for me than anything else.

My weekly average intake is about seventeen hours a week. Give or take depending on the day about four to five hours a day. According to bls.gov, the average adult watches about 5 hoursa day. I am fairly close to that statistic, which means that over the span of my life all together I will waste about nine years of my life watching TV if i keep up this habit. Nine years of my life wasted on mindless TV. Nine years I could have been exploring the outdoors, traveling, and meeting new people. It is recommended that you exercise 150 minutes a week of at least moderate aerobic activity claimed by mayoclinic.com, that adds up to 7,800 hours in a year. Nine years is equivalent to 78,624 hours. To reach that many hours of exercise to considered healthy  you have to exercise 150 hours per week for about 10 years. In those nine years I waste watching TV, I could become healthier rather than sitting around in front of my TV screen.

Research has shown, that watching to much TV is hindering children’s speech. Children are spending less time communicating face-to-face, therefor hindering their ability to communicate face-to-face. I feel in watching excessive TV, I am reverting from people. I don’t crave the need of human interaction anymore. I am becoming one those children statistics, even though I am not a child. I feel it affects me just the same. We are learning to process messages visually rather than verbally. By engaging in so much TV, its shown that one will not take the time to develop those deep personal relationships or try to make them. The more one also watches it, the more the expectations of relationships people have become unrealistic, and the harder it is to form relationships, therefor using the TV as an avoiding method.

Giving up TV for seven days will be a challenge. I will push my boundaries in hopes of success from either eliminating it altogether or a least reduce the average amount of TV I watch per day. I am afraid of stepping out of my boundaries to make connections with them. I am too comfortable with reverting to my TV as way to stay in my box. I am afraid I will fail and therefor not be proud of myself. I am ready to change and immerse myself in a week of no TV.

Day 1: 10/11/13

I am not going to lie today started off rough. I hated it. Between my two hour break, I wasn’t tired and didn’t want to do homework. I missed half my shows this week and was dying to catch up. A long week was ahead of me, to say the least.

Since my two hour break was early in the morning, no one was up or they were in class. I resorted to attempting to take a nap, the only thing I could find to do even though I wasn’t that tired. I realize I probably should have done homework but on a Friday I really was not in the mood. My mind was mentally exhausted. I took a cat nap and then headed off to class. Afterward, I headed to Disneyland and from there no temptation was present to watch TV. Disneyland closed and as we headed back, my friends wanted to watch Breaking Bad. I started shooting off ideas like rapid fire to stray them away from wanting to watch TV but all they wanted to do was watch TV. I was in a rut. Finally, success. Playing cards ended up the choice of activity. I sighed with relief. Thinking back on it my friends fuel my addiction. They watch as much TV as I do, and when we are board we watch TV.

Distracting them from watching TV led to many laughs over cards and led us to deep conversations which was complelty unexpected. It was amazing to bond with each other on that level. It was a lovely experience, and it made me realize that if we were to watch TV instead of playing cards to begin with the laughs we created would never occurred. It made my realize that TV hindered me going out to make friends but hindered me and my current friends of getting closer. It was a hard beginning not to watch TV but in the end it created a deeper bond. I am enthralled to see what the next week brings.

Day 2: 10/12/13

Today was an easier day than yesterday. I purely think it was based on the fact I was busy since 10:30 a.m. till 11 p.m. Since being extremely busy made it that down time was non-existent, there was not time to watch TV. I literally woke up, jumped in the shower, went to initiation, visited my friend at USC, and then went to initiation dinner which lasted till 11. TV did not cross my mind until I got home and was slowing down my day. When it was time to settle down I did, I am not gonna lie, look at my computer. I was semi-tempted to log on and watch a quick TV show before I went to bed, but then I remembered I needed to write my daily reflection of watching no TV. Ironic. So writing this entry prevented me from watching TV today. I can guarantee I would be watching TV right now, if writing out this reflection wasn’t a requirement.

Wow.

Now that I think about it, I find that pathetic. I just resort to watching TV. I am proud of myself though, I didn’t watch TV two days in a row; however, I know five days still remain. Tomorrow is Sunday, and I know Sunday classifies as my lazy day. I’m scared tomorrow I will cave. I am scared I won’t want to get up and make the effort to go talk to people.

Day 3: 10/13/13

I. Hated. Today. Worst day, and hardest day. I was only three days in. Skipping breakfast and watching TV sounded way more appealing then being productive. Sunday is my lazy day.  That computer screen was just begging me to open it up and catch up on ‘X-factor’ but I know I couldn’t. I was so close to caving. Saturday was such a long day and all I wanted to do was curl up in my bed, and become a hermit. I needed to stay focus on this project. I couldn’t cave on day three. It was pathetic, and it would cause shame. I decided to change the situation. I washed my face, put some close on and walked over to my best friend’s room in Glass hall. She was up and already doing some cleaning. She was surprised to see me up and out of my room but she welcomed me and we headed to breakfast. After breakfast, heading to my room was no choice, I knew I would distract myself from homework and face failure. For some reason, my self control is very limited when it comes to watching TV. I asked my best friend if we could do homework together because at least I would get distracted by talking with her rather than my need to watch TV. We ended up trying to do an outline together for a class, and before I knew it it was time to leave and I was heading to a sorority meeting.

Once the meeting was finished, I headed back to my best friends room. She was still doing homework, so I did as well but then the time came and she and her neighbor wanted to watch the new episode of Walking Dead. I LOVE Walking Dead. It is one of my favorite TV shows. I had forgotten that the new season premiered tonight. The universe was working against me. I swear on all things it was not going in my favor this week. She asked me if I wanted to watch it. It killed me inside to say no. I was in such a tough spot. The last season ended in May, and I had to say ‘no’. I was, not going to lie, a little pissed that I couldn’t watch it. I ended up calling my boyfriend and making him Skype me so that I didn’t feel to bad about not watching the TV show. I loved talking with him. It was two days since we Skyped or talked on the phone and I forgot how much I missed hearing and seeing him. It worked out great that I didn’t watch ‘Walking Dead’ because I caught to catch up with the man I love. I gave something up but took something in return. I will say it, it was worth it yet again.

Day 4: 10/14/13

Today was filled with midterms and a full schedule. Two out of my four classes contained midterms today starting from 9am to 1pm. There is a break in my schedule between 10am to 11am. Usually, I stay in the AF because I find it pointless to walk all the way back to the dorms. Regularly I do unfinished homework or watch TV during this hour but today I studied for my midterm that was at noon. There is another break in my schedule 1pm to 4pm, then I studied for my German Midterm. Afterwards, my friends decided to go back to my friends dorm to watch TV. I kindly declined and instead of going to watch TV or a movie with my friends, I decided to head back to my room and do some homework. I was very shocked with how productive I was. Usually I would go join my friends and get nothing done, or go to my room and watch TV myself. I got a good step ahead of my homework. Surprised with myself that I did homework, I was proud. I didn’t calculate this into me giving up TV but I will totally take this outcome of being productive.

Day 5: 10/15/13

Today was a rough one, with one class that ends at 9:45 am, my daily routine consists of going to the gym, showering and having me time, a.k.a. TV time. After my morning class, I always go to the gym Tuesdays and Thursdays. My routine consists of elliptical for 35 minutes, and during that time I watch TV on the little screen on the machine, and today was no different. I complelty forgot about me not watching TV because I was so focused on not watching it on my computer. I forgot about when I go to the gym. It was a mindless action that didn’t register till I left. I watched TV without even second registering what I was doing. I am so shocked and surprised. There was no urge to cave at all, I broke my cycle because I mindlessly watched TV while doing another activity that was just a part of my routine.

From then forward though, I was super conscious of my habit the rest of my day. I mostly did homework in my ‘me’ time, and finished it by the time it was dinner. Dinner came and went and my friends decided they wanted to continue watching ‘Breaking Bad’. I headed to my room. I previously finished all my homework, and there was nothing else to do. I didn’t want to take a nap or clean my room. I walked over to my neighbors that were obnoxiously being loud. I was nervous. Most of them I knew just as acquaintances. I would never go randomly to someones room before but I literally refused to do more homework or clean my room. They welcomed me in with open arms, and at first, I am not gonna lie, I felt I was the odd fish out. They were talking about things that weren’t in my frame of reference. It was something about a party with someone and someone. The talk was all Greek to me. Then things changed, a sorority sister started talking to meInstantly I felt comfortable there, we started talking and then before I knew it, everyone in the room was in the conversation as well. I was so pleased. I was laughing and creating memories withe these people who I barely knew. They were fun! Before I knew it hours flew by and it was eleven, time for me to head back to my room to write this before I head to bed. I did what I originally wanted to accomplish with this immersion project. I stepped out of my comfort zone and made closer friends with the people that simply live right next to me. Needless to say, spending less time watching TV pushed made me do things I never expected to happen.

Day 6: 10/16/13

I don’t really miss TV. I found myself planning my time productively, and I found myself planning so that I would stay busy. Today, from 9am to 7:15, I was busy with class, tabling for my Sorority, doing an ESI experiment, eating dinner, and going to the gym. I deliberately planned my day to avoid my room at all cost. I realize I am filling a void. I am filling the void of TV with cramming my schedule with other things to do. I became a busy body. Another outcome I never expected by doing this immersion project. I realize I thrive from being busy. I am happier. I love having things to do and to be constantly on the go. I realized that after today. Even though my day was packed I never felt or even thought of the idea of watching TV.

I went to the gym again today. I made sure that I didn’t turn the TV screen on. Instead of watching TV, I studied for my midterm by reviewing my study guide. I, surprisingly, got a chunk my studying done for that particular midterm. Other than that, my day was pretty standard. I am astonished with how productive I am overall.

Day 7: 10/17/13

As I was finishing up my essay that isn’t due for two weeks, I looked at the time and realized there was two hours to spare until my next activity. I was done from that moment with all my homework for the weekend. There was nothing else for me to do, except to wonder around and see if I could find someone that wasn’t in class or doing homework. Of course, with my luck, I found nobody. Heading back to my room, I wished I could just sit in there and just watch TV until it was time for me to head to dinner. I knew I couldn’t so I sat bored fiddling around on my computer until it was time to leave. Once dinner finished, I ate and then headed over to Disneyland for a little bit.

As I was I was wondering around, I saw a girl just doing homework on the bench outside of my dorm room, I asked her how much TV she watched a week and if she felt TV kept her from doing things sometimes. Taylor stated, “Weekly probably only about four hours and with being productive she takes care of responsibilities and then will watch TV.” Taylor is a first year student at a private-university, and comes from San Diego. As I heard her response, it got me thinking that TV complelty cut out of my life is unrealistic but watch it more responsibilities is the way I should go.

In conclusion, I will not lie, I am very glad that Thursday was the last day of this immersion project. Some habits will change though, I can guarantee that. I learned I need to reduce my daily intake of TV overall. Before I was missing out on opportunities of making new friends, creating deeper bonds with the friends I already have, and being more productive with thins such as homework. Keeping myself busy and planning multiple things keeps me active and not only that, but pushes me to make new friends and develop friendships I would never have done before. Some of the laughs I shared this week with my friends wouldn’t have occurred if it wasn’t for my pushing of not watching TV when we had nothing else to do. Even though I accidentally watched TV once, I am proud of myself for not caving even in the moments where I had nothing else to do. I pushed myself over my boundaries. For anyone who feels their TV watching is getting a little excessive, my advice, shut it off. It is worth it to stretch and make relationships. Puso indulge in one’s favorite characters but more than that a day should be spend bonding and creating relationships and realizing the world around you. It’s worth it. Trust me. Push one’s self and write it down somewhere or add it to one’s schedule. Although, I can’t wait to watch TV tomorrow, a little treat for me to look forward to, I know from this day forward my TV intake will reduce from four hours a day to only one or two.

Much Love,
Becca

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