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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

This month we asked our students to watch this 1991 United Airline
and asked them to weight in on its relevancy today. 
As always, their response surprised us.

Age of Communication

Morgan Rooney
MSMU Class of 2020

(2/2018) As a person who was born in the late 1990s, 1998 to be exact, I have had the experience of growing up during a time of rapid change in technology. When I was a child and I wanted to watch my favorite film, I would search through the box of VHS tapes stored in an old cardboard box in the hall closet. I would be sure to insert it into the VCR player, rewind the tape, and start it from the very beginning. I remember seeing my parents and other grownups walking around with cheap flip phones in their pockets, unaware of the many limitations of the now archaic technological device (at least, compared to what we are used to now). I remember feeling an uncontrollable urge to grow up, as many of us felt, and wanting an old-fashioned cell phone of my own so I could chat with my best friend for hours, rather than having to wait for my mom to get off the phone line. In those days, my computer tower and bulky monitor sat on a small table in the office, across from my parentsí equally bulky, but faster and more updated computers.

I got older, things changed. We made the historic switch from VHS tapes to DVDs. I upgraded from my flip phone to a smartphone, which has been updated to the latest version on multiple occasions. Our TVs got thinner and thinner, but increasingly wider and taller, and, of course, with higher definition. The big USA roadmap for our occasional road trips got folded up and put away after my family bought our first GPS system. With the addition of texting and social media in our lives, communicating instantly with anyone, anytime, became much more possible than it had been before.

One thing that I hear quite often about these new developments of technology is that people, both adults and children, are spending way too much time using this technology rather than communicating face-to-face or living life away from the screen. I do believe these statements have their truths to them. Many of us have experienced spending time with another personóit could be a date, or even just spending time with a family member or friendóand the other person just cannot seem to put their phone down. He is addicted to it, and pays more attention to the screen than the person right in front of him. To me, this seems to be unhealthy, and more than anything, annoying. I donít claim that I have never picked up my phone when spending time in the presence of another person, because that would be a lie, but I do think there is a point of limitation. Sometimes, I find even myself spending too much time using my smartphone. I know that I am not an exception to this trend, and sometimes should be spending my time elsewhere, being more productive and doing things to improve the overall quality of my life. Although this is something I strive to improve in my own life, and I think many others should too, I do see how technology improves my own life and the lives of the people around me every day.

When I first moved away to attend college here in Emmitsburg, it was already such a big decision and drastic change to my life. I was coming here from halfway across the country. The most common thing people would ask me when I told them of my decision was, "Wonít you miss your family?". The answer was, of course I would, but it wasnít like I would never speak to them or have maybe a weekly phone call. With the technology we had, I would be able to contact them at any time I wanted to, and they were able to contact me whenever they pleased. The simplest question could be asked through a quick text message, and all was smooth sailing. What about my friendships from high school? Our contact is not just limited to an email or letter in the mail, though that can be fun on occasion. We can talk hours on the phone, catching up with our new busy lives, or even video chatting where we can see each otherís faces. Itís the closest we can get to being together, when we are not physically together, and I think it is wonderful. Old, long-term friendships donít have to fade or grow apart, but can continue to strengthen. When it is easier for people who do not live near one another to keep in contact, it is more likely they will. What I am really trying to say here, is that even though I am spending a fair amount of time on my smartphone, I am still able to maintain social interactions with friends and family. In fact, it helps me stay in contact with my closest friends and remain in their lives, even when we live far away from each other. No, I do not believe this replaces a face-to-face conversation, or spending time together in person. Those things are still very important to me, but to be able to talk to my old friends so easily and often means a great deal to me and Iím glad I have the technology to do so.

Sure, increased use of technology has its drawbacks and what I would call annoyances, but when I think of technology and how my friends and I use it, I see it more in a positive light. It is a great way to stay up-to-date on the things going on around us and keep in contact with those we love, no matter where they may be in the world. If we donít allow what is in our hands to control us, it can be advantageous, and improve our relationships with our friends and family instead of allowing them to fade away.

Read other articles by Morgan Rooney