3 Things I Learned During My 3 Weeks of Internet Deprivation

John and I moved back to Victoria at the beginning of September. I didn’t bother calling about internet set-up until we arrived. I figured it couldn’t be that long of a wait.

I was wrong, so very wrong.

Apparently, when all the students of Victoria are trying to hook up their internet, the wait can actually be quite long. Nearly three weeks long, to be exact. In those three weeks I learned a few things about myself. Since today is our first day with internet in our new place, I thought I would share what I learned with you.

1. It’s Easy to Fall Behind Without Home Internet 

It’s not like the internet was completely gone from my life for the last few weeks. I could still walk to a coffee shop or stay late at school if necessary. Unfortunately, since school started the same week we arrived, I almost only sought out internet when I needed to do some homework. It’s been particularly difficult to keep on top of my readings, since the majority of them have been online so far. I’ve spent several full days camped out at the nearby coffee shop just trying to stay on top of them. Then, this past week, I got sick.

Angrily, I continued to drag myself to the coffee shop in my pyjamas to finish my homework before they closed at 6 pm.

I’m an adult, and I have my own laptop that I can bring with me. As inconvenient as it is, lacking internet doesn’t actually prevent me from doing my homework. However, for a lot of young people without home internet it’s incredibly hard to keep up with their studies without home internet. This problem is sometimes referred to as the digital divide or the homework gap and generally tends to affect low-income households.

These numbers are based on an American study. You can find information about the digital divide in Canada by clicking here.

2. Life Without Internet Can Be Lonely

I didn’t realize how much of my day-to-day communication was via the internet until it was gone. No more snapchatting. No more Facebook messaging. No more stalking friends’ photos on Instagram. It’s not that I couldn’t access these forms of communication when I was at a coffee shop or at school, but usually I spent all that time on schoolwork and would forget to even check my messages.

Well, I guess I’m only mostly alone.

3. Life Without Internet Can be Peaceful

On the other hand, I had very little to distract me during my evenings at home. For the first few weeks, this meant I got a lot of organizing and unpacking done. After I got sick, however, it meant that I did a lot of reading (and renting DVDs from probably one of the last DVD stores left in Canada).

This is how I spent my weekend.

Over the past couple weeks, I couldn’t just Google a recipe or look up my bus schedule whenever I wanted. While that drove me crazy, it also forced me to reassess my internet use. I’m not one of those people who thinks that technology is leading to our social and emotional destruction. In contrast, I think it’s allowed for some amazing new ways of seeing our world. However, living without internet helped remind me that I don’t always need it as much as I think I do.

Sometimes, turning it off for an evening can be downright lovely.

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4 responses to “3 Things I Learned During My 3 Weeks of Internet Deprivation

  1. Hi, I would like to contact you about your home stay in trois pistoles, vs. the option of staying in a bed and breakfast during the one week adult French program. I am trying to decide which option is better for me! Thanks.

    • Hi Susan, I sent you an email with some information, but if it doesn’t get through to you let me know and I can send it again to a different email. 🙂 Overall I’d say we benefited a lot from doing a homestay instead of a B&B. It was cheaper for one, because it was included in the Explore bursary, but it was also great practice because we were forced to speak French in our home environment when socializing with our host.

  2. Hey Kat. Nice post. We just had a department meeting in which we were told explicitly to use the internet for readings as much as possible, for these reasons: copyright is protected if we post links to library holdings, rather than printing out readings; if we can save money on copying, we can use that money for other things, like social events to recruit more majors and honours students. Many of us are worried about the digital divide, but on a scale of one to ten, it doesn’t rank very high, compared to falling numbers of students, the high cost of tuition, and other pressures we are under. Sad but true.

    • I think the study I included above was focused on kids in Elementary and High School, rather than University.
      I am actually very thankful whenever my readings are available online. It’s a great money saver. I definitely agree that when it comes to University tuition is a way bigger issue than internet access. Most of us students move into the library for a good portion of our undergrad anyways. Lots of internet there! haha.

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