The life of a final year student: part 4 – what is life offline?

Approximately four months ago the precious thing that is the Internet was removed from the proximity of my home. Amid a long battle of daily grievances with provider, 3, we mutually accepted our relationship was over and I exited company. It had been a long struggle, mainly consisting of 3 making promise after promise of a signal that simply just wasn’t there. But enough of moping about the past, the break-up brought 4 months of ‘should I stay with them?’ and ‘should I start using someone else?’ but eventually I came out at the other end mostly unscathed.

Now I’m in a fresh new relationship, I mean, contract with a provider which has a famous love-hate relationship with the whole city. On one hand, they provide ok-ish speeds and all that, sometimes, but on the other they are ridiculously expensive compared to others and are far too protective of their territory to let any competitors in. So I’m with them whether I like it or not really, the only other option was another dongle, and with the last one ending so badly I was forgivably dubious about taking on a new one.

So what was it like living in pre 1990s again? Having to walk to the library every time I needed to do any research, blogging or general online procrastinating reminded me of being at primary school and doing the same back then, only there was less researching and blogging, just mostly accepted procrastination, given my age at the time. Then I started thinking about the time I’ve spent at home in these last few months. I have an open dislike of most television and will only turn it on to watch something I have a specific interest in at that time. Channel flicking is not acceptable, ever. DVDs bore me, I’m much more of a cinema person, hence my collection being possible to count on one hand. I don’t usually listen to music without doing something else at the same time, so that left reading. I do quite a bit of that. Obviously it left many other things too, but who wants me to list every possible activity?

Reading is luckily something that can be considered quite constructive when doing a degree, and I feel I’ve probably been better at working on this since my lack of online. Most working slots will consist of turning on the computer, checking emails, Facebook and Twitter before getting started, then getting distracted by a few links here and there before returning to check any updates on Facebook and Twitter again, before going back to the emails. You see my point. Not much work gets done with this system in place.

If he can get distracted, what chance have I got?

Luckily I wasn’t made a complete recluse and have access to the above distractions via my smartphone, but a simple matter of leaving it in another room with my other half, complete with updated app, Angry Birds, and it’s safe to say I wouldn’t see it again for a while.

This puts me back to the stage of switching on the computer. No distractions meant I could get straight on with my work (albeit a few games of Spider Solitaire but that gets boring pretty quickly) and hammering out that essay much quicker than normal. There, I said it: I didn’t mind being without the Internet that much. Yes, it was frustrating at times, booking train tickets and Christmas shopping may have been much easier with it, but generally I’m happy it allowed me to get so much work done.

Since deciding to aim for a high grade in my degree I’ve been looking for advice from many angles on achieving this, so this is mine: try going just one week without the Internet. If you’re anything like me you’ll spend more time in the library, with real books made of paper, you’ll be more focussed and probably spend less money too. On the other hand, if you’re not like me you could end up doing a whole lot more of nothing, but here’s to experimenting.

Now I have been reunited with the wonders of the world wide web however, here’s to regular blogging again. See you again soon.

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