Step Away From the Screen

Is Getting Off the Grid This Summer Really So Bad?

By Published on .

Alex Kniess Alex Kniess
The predictable cycle of school is marked by its ups and downs, bookended by summer. It's a time to relax, experiment, work your ass off or merely gather your thoughts. No matter what, though, these summers are mental breaks. To say that they'll be missed is no great insight at all. But as I've slipped into my own relaxing yet hectic build to my next great adventure, I've noticed that my digital life seems to follow the ebbs and flows of a school cycle in the same way.

During school or work, I find that I'm constantly connected and am always maintaining, growing and pruning my digital self. But when summer hits, when school ends or maybe just when the weather gets nice, I find I'm off the grid more times than I'm plugged in.

As our generation becomes increasingly defined by our digital savvy and ability to multitask, I sometimes find myself suffocated by it. I hope I'm not alone when I say what a relief it is to be unplugged, to neglect Twitter and to just go get some fresh air. Yet I'm stricken at the same time with a huge wave of guilt. After all, if I'm not tweeting or adding to the conversation, then a more savvy millennial will take my place as I relax into obsolescence.

But we are unique, we college students and recent grads, because we still know what it means to have a summer. In five years when the tips of my fingers become calloused from too many tweets, the idea of a summer break will be but a nostalgic childhood memory. So what does the "real world" use to manage their digital and real selves? How do you take a break and a deep breath without losing touch?

If I were someday fortunate enough to be in the position to hire someone, I'd hire the person who can strike a balance, rather than an amped-up tweetaholic who has spent so many hours in front of a computer screen that his skin has become translucent. Maybe it would be the wrong choice. But maybe we all need breaks and balance; if I could hire just one who has it figured out, maybe that would lead to more figuring it out.

It's summer. Go outside and enjoy it. You can tweet about it later.

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