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Communication a must have -- instantly

In the not-so-distant past, Concordia held its yearly Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposium. For a full 24 hours, the focus of seminars across campus was on finding "the We in an iWorld" by examining "technology and learning in the 21st Century."

Speakers enunciated their views concerning the enormous presence of technology in my generation's nanosecond-to-nanosecond existence, as well as its effect on our intelligence and general well being.

If you missed it, I'll quickly relate to you my lessened respect and reiterate the highlights.

I respect you less.

The first not-to-be-missed happening (But you missed it, didn't you? Tsk tsk tsk...) was someone's cell phone ringing right away during the opening ceremony. Next, the opening speaker couldn't get his PowerPoint to work -- oho, what a hoot!

Add to that the many Cobbers who came supplied with laptops to take notes, the extensive light show (and scary recorded loon calls) that accompanied the choir, and the live-feed screens bookending the speakers on both sides, and it was a techie-friendly display of this generation at its tech-savviest.

However, the chick sitting next to me beat all: she texted the entire time.

Here at Concordia, it doesn't take long to realize that technology is indeed inextricably connected to a functional lifestyle.

During summer orientation when an upperclassman informed me that she checks her e-mail approximately eight times a day, I responded with a mental derogatory scoff at her e-communication dependency.

Eight times a day?! Excessive, I thought, dismissing the idea that I'd need continual Internet access to succeed in post-secondary education.

And then came move-in day, which was apparently code for "Let the onslaught of e-information at the Beanie-clad Cobbers commence!"

Within the first few days of getting-to-know-you and just-look-at-all-the-school-has-to-offer, I got more information via my e-college account than I had time to read.

To emphasize my point, take this recently eavesdropped-upon conversation: "I haven't checked my e-mail since 6:30 tonight," said one of my "Slasher" castmates the other evening, eyes wide to emphasize the gravity of her statement.

I looked at my watch (translation: cell phone). It was 8 o'clock.

How many important e-mails can a college student receive in an hour and a half? Unless you've got an e-mail address that ends in dot-ee-dee-you, chances are you can't even fathom it.

In an average week (there aren't any average weeks in college, for the record), I get six or seven e-vites to shows, speakers and exhibits.

It was over e-mail that DL Newspapers explained how my week is now further confused -- it's Wednesday, right?

It's over e-mail that I get nine scholarship offers that I'm not eligible for every week.

It's over e-mail that I get information about floor gatherings from my RA, who lives next-dorm to me.

It's over e-mail that I keep in touch with my best buddy Paige, who lives on the same campus but whom I only see if I get up my bum of a self to dining services before breakfast turns to lunch.

And it was over e-mail that I got word Concordia can now charge your cell phone with spooky space-age solar-powered mechanisms.

Evidently, e-mail is the portal to the college student's soul. Text messaging, I imagine, must be feeling threatened.

As silly as it is, I've been caught in the net's web of e-dialogue, finding myself impatient when it takes more than the course of a morning to hear back from a professor or director or advisor. Don't they know they're supposed to check their e-mail eight times a day?

In well-honed slacker fashion, I somehow manage to get by with signing only in daily. And checking my account over the weekend? Virtually nonexistent. Am I missing out on vital information?

Eh, probably not. If it's important, someone will text me.

Thressa Johnson graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends Concordia College in Moorhead.