‘The Summer I’ Chucked My Phone

Inspired by Prime’s summer teen drama (not really)… I gained a new appreciation for not having my phone


First of all, my phone is fine, for anyone who might have cared.

This past summer, and like most of my summers, I went to a music camp. Music camp consisted of six hours of violin

a day, and no air conditioning in the cabins.

Just me, nature, friends, and my violin.

One particular note is, I didn’t have my phone.

I was gone for about two weeks, completely digital-less. Yeah, you heard me…or read me.

Completely without internet, service, wifi, nothing.

To be honest, it was amazing. I know this whole, “no phones in school” mantra is quite annoying, and I get it, but hear me out: not using my phone was actually really insightful for me.

At my camp, we valued friendships, nature, and music. It was constant interaction with just our own community of 40 music-loving nerds.

I went to music camp in 2015 and 2016. After a few year gap, the summer of 2021 was the first time I returned, and I had the best phoneless experience. I didn’t have the urge to constantly check who contacted me, update my social media, and be reminded of the trillion summer assignments I had to do. I finally got a chance to breathe.

It was like being in an alternate reality.

The everyday routine of camp, becoming lifelong friends with people I connected with for two weeks, spending hours remembering my passion for music, and connecting with the beauty of nature was eye-opening.

As highschoolers, we are constantly on the run from 6 a.m. to the late hours of the night. During the cycle of school, sports, work, etc., finding a chance to breathe is seldom.

Camp reminded me that my phone is a huge factor of my stress. By keeping my phone out of sight, I was able to breathe, take in the rich Vermont air, and enjoy myself without a worry at all for the first time in so, so long.

Though, being without a phone isn’t all that easy.

What I described to you was my summer from last year.

This year, when I returned to camp for the summer of 2022, my experience was a little different.

I had created such strong friendships with my friends here in East Lyme, but being phoneless and contactless for two weeks really tested those friendships. I struggled a lot with missing them, writing them letters, and waiting for responses that rarely came. Not having that instant connection was much tougher than before.

After the two weeks were over, I was eager to come home to see my friends, yet I could feel the immediate disconnect. I couldn’t be upset or expect them to put these two weeks on hold while I was gone, but I didn’t expect
to feel more lonely when I came back than when I left.

Something that phones have done extremely well these past couple decades is provided us with instant connection. There becomes this expectation to uphold that level of connection, thus, once that connection disappears for a portion of time, it’s so easily disrupted. Taking time off phones gets you re-grounded and friendship should pass the
test of not having instant communication.

The pressures of communication, social media, and notifications are drastically overlooked as large stressors in our
everyday life.

I challenge you to put the phone down, even outside of ELHS. Leave it at home or in the car, zip it up in your backpack, silence it, and take a moment to actually be in the moment. Look up once in a while and notice
the blue waters and salty air of our cute little beach town.

It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it to take time once in a while and chuck your phone.