Vicki Mercado

Brooklyn College Academy, Brooklyn, New York.

As a participant for three years, I can say that each year is unique and exciting. I always look forward to going to the conference and meeting new people, learning about other projects and efforts and engaging in creative activities. MCNC has granted me so many memories, skills, and experiences and I am saddened that this is my last year. Nevertheless, I am very grateful for all of the time and energy everyone has put into planning, and conducting these fun, informative, interactive, and innovative conferences.

This year has been particularly interesting because we are analyzing and approaching an issue that is so embedded in our culture that is becoming normal. We are seeking to improve our social environment by addressing the negative effects of our technological habits. This is an issue that I can relate to because it ties directly to my own lifestyle and the lifestyle of all my friends and even my family. Our addiction to social networking sites, video games, and television is kind of scary. We spend so much time behind screens and not enough time outside, with friends and family face to face. We forget how to interact and how to be around other people. By meeting every week with my MCNC group to discuss our plan of action and our opinions on the matter, I have learned so much and I am going to walk away with much more than before.

After interviewing some of my peers, I realized how serious this technological addiction really is. Technology creates another world in which we are other people, and if we don’t spend time in that world we feel as if we are missing out on something, as if a piece of ourselves is missing. Nevertheless, nothing is more valuable than the world right here, the one we can feel and touch, the one that is not virtual. By reminding people of lost values, activities, and experiences, we can help to weaken this parasitic attachment to technology. On Friday April 15th, our group partnered with students from our chapter of the National Honor Society to host a student-teacher volleyball game. The turnout was amazing! We had at least sixty five Brooklyn College Academy members throughout the bleachers, and on the court along with the teachers. Our basketball cheerleaders even volunteered to cheer at the event. For approximately an hour and a half, we were like one big family, mingling, playing, cheering each other on, and simply enjoying each other’s company. Nothing else mattered except for what was going on in front of and around us. The virtual people through my phone had no place in my life that day because I had real people ready to interact with me, right in front of me. This event also reminded me of how much fun it can be to just spend time with a whole bunch of people at an organized event. It felt great. I am hoping that this student-teacher volleyball game becomes an annual event, and that our students learn to LOL: Live Offline and enjoy one another.

Sade Samlalsingh

When we first heard about the theme, “Saving Our Habitat, Preserving Our Humanity,” we immediately connected it to about caring for our environment and keeping it clean. At the very least, we thought it would have something to do with our surroundings. However, after a bit of thought, we decided to do a project with a twist. The more we discussed it, the more that we thought our work should involve saving our social habitat. It was interesting to do this because it was out of the ordinary.

For the first part of our project, we had a day without technology. We asked the students and teachers of the school to try getting through one day without technology. There would be no texting, facebook, Twitter or anything else that would interfere with human-to-human interaction. At the end of the day, we had a family game night, where parents, students and teachers were invited to come out and have fun with each other. There were a variety of board games, movies and food for everyone to enjoy. I enjoyed participating in this part of the project because it was an opportunity to have fun with my peers. It was also refreshing to see people having good, “old-fashioned” fun while engaging in activities that are rapidly becoming things of the past.

The second part of our project involved a student-faculty volleyball game. There was a lot of planning involved, especially since our campus physical education teacher was unable to attend. There were so many things to worry about: securing gym time, advertising, getting people to sign up, refreshments, security, and chaperones. At times, it was very stressful. However, I found it very fulfilling to see how much fun my peers and teachers had with each other. I felt as if all the hard work paid off because everyone had fun and experienced genuine enjoyment.

Working on this project meant a lot to me and I couldn’t have asked for better teammates to work with. This was an unforgettable experience and, as a senior, the perfect way to conclude my association with BCA and the MCNC student conference.

Cierra Princess Reid

As a teen growing up in this day and age, living with technology is almost as natural as having food and water. We depend heavily on it for school work, entertainment, and most importantly—communication. The point of our project this year was to stray away from technology a bit and strengthen our relationships with those around us. Instead of sending a text or making a call, we could just speak to one another face to face. Overall, this project has been an eye opening experience for me.

I had never really noticed prior to this assignment how much I rely on a cell phone to have a conversation with someone. Instead of sitting in my room and texting all day, I was able to actually go out, engage in other activities, and speak to my friends and family in person. One productive thing that I did with my time was go to a Janet Jackson concert with my mother and grandmother. Despite the age difference, each of use our phones daily so to turn them off and be without them for a day was a challenge. At first, we had a little trouble detaching ourselves from the cell phones, but after a while we started to have tons of fun just appreciating each other’s company. Phones, computers, and iPods usually get in the way of that, so to have quality time with one another was very refreshing.

Another thing I did was participate in the student-faculty volleyball game at school. Many teachers and students volunteered to play, and a lot of others came to support as well. My cheerleading team even made up special cheers for volleyball just to show good sportsmanship. Although there were many other things we all could have been doing at that time, everyone ditched their phones and came together to have a technology-free afternoon.

After this project, I honestly see myself spending less time on the phone. I have learned to value the moments that I spend with those around me instead of ignoring them and staring at a screen instead. I have grown to see things differently now and I certainly plan on becoming less addicted to technology. As much as I appreciate all of the things that I have, I refuse to depend on a gadget for a relationship; I will never lose the personal connections I have with all of my friends and family.


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