I survived…


Anna Krupka

  One day after practice, my soccer coach invited our team to ask each other any random questions we wanted.

   The light activity turned deep when a friend asked, “What is your biggest pet-peeve that you do?” Ouch. I had no doubts: when somebody uses their phone while in a conversation. I absolutely hate it. It makes me feel insecure, that they don’t care what I have to say. It makes me feel frustrated to see someone so addicted to their phone. But that’s me. I do it just as much as it is done to me.

   After I got over the initial disappointment from my new discovery, I began to wonder how my interactions with people might change if I didn’t have my phone at all. My thinking prompted a challenge: five days without my phone. 


   The rules:

  1. I will turn off my phone on Sunday night and not use it from Monday to Friday. I can turn it back on Saturday morning.
  2. I may only use my computer for school work, not a replacement for my phone like using social media, playing games, or watching movies.
  3. I will have my phone with me in the car in case of an emergency, as requested by my parents. It will stay turned off and in its cute brown paper bag that I will store in the glove box.
  4. When it comes to connecting with a few friends or teammates, I may use our home phone. While I would love to cut off all technology for the week, the world does keep moving. This means last minute carpools or changes to our soccer schedule will require connecting with a person or two. My main goal in doing the challenge is to focus on the relationships that are right in front of me, not the ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ social media claims I have, so checking in with my close friends once or twice during the week is allowed. 


   The day before:

   I spent a good 30 minutes Sunday afternoon simply texting people to tell them I couldn’t text them throughout the week. It felt a little ridiculous. My soccer team. My family. My future roommate (had to let her know I wasn’t ghosting her ;). I’d like to think I’m not fully addicted to my phone as some of my classmates might be, but I know this week is going to be hard. Is it going to rain at practice? Check the weather on my phone. What time is my friend coming to pick me up? Just text her to ask. When is the new season of Grey’s Anatomy going to be released? Google it. 

   Every second throughout the day where I do not know something, my phone has the ability to answer . In the same way, my phone brings comfort in times where I am unsure of what to do or simply have a free moment. In addition to focusing on relationships, I hope to take advantage of the time to think this week. I will have to face the thoughts that scrolling suppresses.

   Sunday night comes. After holding down the power button for a couple of seconds, my phone is off. I take a deep breath, am I excited or anxious? Maybe both.



5:30- I woke up for morning practice the same time that I always do except to the unpleasant sound of my alarm clock. I don’t have the ability to change it to my favorite song or the sound of waves as I do with my phone. No, just a blaring noise reminding me of the long week ahead. I normally wake up at this time and use my phone to try to “wake up” and make sure that I don’t fall back asleep. Instead, I just turned on my light and got up. How simple. After getting ready, I had 15 minutes to spare. Not scrolling through Instagram Reels really saved me some time.

11:00- I was a little nervous for lunch. If everyone was on their phone, what would I do? It ended up being fine. I don’t normally use my phone at lunch, but I think not having it at all encouraged my friends to put theirs down as well and left room for more conversation. 

6:00- I agreed to drive a friend to youth group but didn’t know where she lived. The process in finding her house: 

  1. Tell her at school to email me her address
  2. Check email and get address
  3. Write the address on my hand
  4. Look up location of her house on google maps
  5. Drive. Search for 10 minutes.
  6. Finally find the house 🙂

Wow everything was so much more complicated before google maps 

10:00- By the end of the day, I was so tired. With morning practice, a full day of school, afternoon practice, youth group, and some studying thrown in there, my brain was exhausted. All I want to do is scroll mindlessly. Instead, I go to bed. I realize that there are so many more effective ways to wind down after a long day. Reading, showering, anything but scrolling. 


7:00- The sunrise is so beautiful. When I got to school this morning, I sat in my car and just looked at the sky. A much better start to my day than looking at edited pictures of acquaintances and celebrities. 

11:00- I just had the most productive seminar of my life. With no phone to distract me, I sent two important emails, finished a Spanish assignment, and studied for my math exam. Crazy how much I could do in just 45 minutes.

3:00- It rained at practice. I didn’t check the weather. I didn’t have a jacket.


11:30- The south bell rang and my teacher finished teaching. This is normally when I check my texts or click through Instagram stories. Instead, I talked with the girls sitting next to me. My time here at WOHS is almost done and I’m wishing I was more intentional in making connections. 

6:00- It’s the night before my math exam. I am setting aside two hours of uninterrupted time to study.

8:00- Studying went well! I feel like that is the most I have gotten out of studying in a while, simply because my mind wasn’t wandering off to who might be texting me. I need to turn off my phone while doing homework more often.


7:00- I woke up this morning and realized I didn’t know what my team was wearing for game day. We normally text about it in a group chat the night before. Warmups? Dress up? I go with warmups and hope that’s right. Just my luck, it is! 

9:30- I could probably count on one hand the number of people I see not using their phones during passing time, and I probably wouldn’t be one of them if I had mine. When I start using my phone again, I will not allow myself to do this anymore. There are few things important enough in my life that require an immediate response during the five minutes of passing time.

5:00- On the bus to my soccer game, every single person is on their phone. I honestly don’t miss it. It just looks dumb. There are 20 people in close proximity and not a single one having conversation. Some are conversing but each only giving half of their attention to the other person, back to my pet peeve again…

9:00- After I get back from the game, I do some quick studying for a Spanish test. It only takes me thirty minutes to review, but it’s probably as productive as I normally am in a 2 hour time frame. 


7:00- I wake up and eat breakfast. That desire to check my texts has subsided. I’m just eating my cheerios and breathing. I hope to continue these simple mornings. 

11:45- The time comes for my Spanish test. I feel rested. Prepared. Not anxious to check who texted me after I turn the test in. School is so much easier without my phone.

8:00- I treasure Friday nights with my friends. It’s a time when I normally put my phone down and just stay in the moment. Tonight was no different, except I was hyper-aware of my friends’ phone use. Seriously? Do you need to be snapchatting someone right now? 

11:00- When I wake up, my phone will no longer be off limits. I am not looking forward to the amount of texts that will “require” a response. I don’t want to have an excuse to scroll mindlessly when bored. I don’t want to sink back into my old habits.


Final thoughts:

“As I approach death and look back on my life, my biggest regret is that I did not watch more Netflix – No One, Ever” 

This quote is displayed in the front of class. Insert what you want. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Snapchat. Fortnite. I know for certain the platforms we are addicted to add no value to our lives. 

It is terribly easy to allow the bright light of a notification to become all we look forward to. I thoroughly enjoyed my time this week without the anxiety my phone brings. In the same way, communication was extremely hard during such a busy time of the year. I recognize that phones hold value in the means of communicating with others. It is almost unrealistic to think getting rid of them would solve all our problems. Instead, we must be intentional in our relationships and the time we have with our loved ones. Throwing the issue in a bag for the week might not solve the problem, but recognizing our unhealthy habits and striving to do better can make a world of difference.