From Nate Windon (OE’08):
Not having a cell phone in Lincoln is a good thing. At first, the transition will be eased by the new environment and new people. Later, when you start to feel the phantom vibration in your pocket from a cell phone that isn’t there, you’ll make some decisions all based on the question: do I really want to talk to _____? If the answer is yes, then you will find a way to communicate. During my time at the OE, I wrote a lot of letters and made a good amount of phone calls. While they were inconvenient methods compared to a cell phone, they made me more aware and appreciative of my relationships. The fact that I deliberately chose to communicate allowed my relationships with loved ones to grow. For me, the lack of cell phone didn’t make me feel distant; it actually made me more deeply connected to friends and family.
From Allison Rivers (OE’08):
Personally, I was kind of excited to get rid of my cell phone for a semester. And don’t get my wrong – I loved my cell phone. I still do. But I was looking forward to getting to know people without the distraction of having my phone ring constantly. It was a way to be more fully present to this new experience around me. There are plenty of ways to keep in touch with friends from home while in Oregon, and you’ll see them soon enough. You’re only in Oregon for three and a half months, and you won’t want to miss out on any of it. I know if I had my cell phone on me the whole time, I would have been more focused on things going on at home than on getting to know my classmates, having amazing conversation with my cabin mates, and enjoying the incredible experience at hand. I’m really glad I was so deeply involved in my community while I was in Oregon. I have new friends for life and new memories to cherish. I’m so relieved I didn’t spend my whole time out in Lincoln on the phone. I know it seems ridiculous, but you can go a whole semester without your cell phone.
From Grace Olson (OE’08):
Life at the OE is a little quieter and much less distracting than usual college life. To preserve that quiet space, we agree not to use cell phones except on trips into town. This keeps cabins open for studying or being present to the people at the OE, instead of withdrawing into the safety of cell phones. It’s not difficult – you can substitute emails for phone calls, or make more infrequent calls to people at home, or take up the art of the handwritten letter. It makes communication precious, and it prevents conflicts in the cabins. You’re welcome to use your phone during the few days in San Francisco, but it’s not necessary. I had no phone at all, and that didn’t hamper my ability to get around, meet up with people, or enjoy the city. You can also use your phone to travel to and from Oregon, but again, I traveled without a phone and made it to Lincoln and back home without a problem (I even managed to reschedule my flight). So, to those of you attached to your cell phone: this will be a nice break. You will learn to separate yourself from it, and you will find yourself becoming better friends with people at the OE because of it. And to those of you not attached to a phone: enjoy these few months. It’s delightful to spend real time with people.
From Sarah Grimes (OE’08):
At first, I was worried about having limited cell phone access for a few months. After all, at home our phones are constantly on us, like a security blanket. The first few days at the OE were definitely a challenge, but after a week I had to admit I liked living without my phone. I didn’t feel stressed or pulled in so many different directions. Instead, I could concentrate on the beauty of each moment as it came. However, the most important thing was the relationships formed with both students and faculty. Without the distraction of excess technology, people were able to give their full attention to one another and truly listen. I’m convinced this is why our community was so tightly woven. It was incredibly refreshing to be around such authentic people at the OE. I would encourage anyone to try living this way, even only for a semester.