Thursday, September 27, 2012


Michael Armstrong

The iExamen required a great deal of self-discipline. I needed to become aware one of the most habitual actions of daily life, communication. This meant I had to note any information that I received or project for an entire day! I certainly missed a few communications, but the mere act of analyzing myself brought me closer to understanding how others perceive me on a most basic level. In addition, my self-reflection of the way I communicate with others has opened my mind to the possibility of further self-sufficiency.
            Tuesday morning is the most relaxing time of the week. In fact, it is the best day of the week. My only class all day is at 4:30PM, so I generally wake up late and get work done until then. This past Tuesday my sister, who happens to be in London, woke me up. One of the most thrilling aspects of technology today is the immense medium of communication that it provides for all individuals. With a device as small as a Passport I’m able to communicate with people in different cultures, time zones, and hemispheres. This truly amazing feat has had a somewhat of constricting effect on what is communicated. As a student majoring in finance I immediately gravitate towards free communication modes like text messaging (through WiFi) or Facebook rather than a telephone. Unfortunately, those modes of communication are extremely stale. Text messaging eliminates the face-to-face contact of regular communication, and without visual cues like facial expressions or body language much can be lost in translation. At the same time, those who do not wish to partake in such verbal communication can simply take the easy way out and send a text message.
            With my new appreciation of the limitations of text messaging and other types of virtual communication I find myself enjoying human intercommunication substantially more! For example, once I finally left my room for lunch this past Tuesday I met up with a good friend from high school. During lunch I noticed that the trials of my friends day like: attending class, doing work, finishing daily chores, and studying for exams had taken its toll on her by noon. All of this was noticeable by the energy that she projected. She was slouching at the table, not very talkative, and seemed preoccupied by other thoughts. On the other hand, I seemed to be dominating the conversation. I felt that I was exuberating a greater level of energy likely due to the lack of interpersonal communication up until that point in the day. Now that my senses are more acute to the fact that I do crave a certain level of human interaction per day I will more readily initiate such communication in the future.
            Undoubtedly the hour of disconnect from all technology required the most self-discipline, but in return it yielded the best understanding of how communication effects my daily life.  I chose to spend my unplugged hour working out. At around 6:00PM I went for a run.  I ran for about two miles. My run eventually took me to the FAC where I continued to workout in the gym. During this hour of disconnection I found myself feeling satisfied without the constant bombardment of communication. I also noticed that when I disconnected myself since Tuesday, I don’t get anxious about missing a text or phone call if I’m thoroughly preoccupied by another action. This revelation coupled with my new appreciation of interpersonal communication is a refreshing new way to look at such a common action, and a new way to progress my own life. By participating in the Jesuit practice of self-reflection I have found a deeper connection with what makes me a unique individual. It allows me to differentiate the way I interact with people, and how they interact with me.

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