Saying Goodbye to Non-Educational TV

It’s my first week back in college and I’ve had some time to think. My Political Science professor awed some 300+ students with a speech that resonated inside my mind. It was this: his challenge was, simply, to “lose TV.” I didn’t know to what extent he was talking about, so I kept listening. He talked about what a colossal waste of time it was, that the average American watches 8 hours a day, and cited students who took up his challenge and thanked him for it later. He made it clear that he wanted us to completely drop it out of our lives. What was entertaining and persuasive about his speech was the delivery, and as a practiced public speaker myself I found it highly effective. He got some laughs, too. Our professor then proceeded to encourage us to quit TV so that we could get the most out of our college experience, focusing on the social aspect of it. He asked all of us with boyfriends to raise our hands and exclaimed, “Shame on you!” to everyone not raising their hand, which was a vast majority of the room. “You guys should be dating each other instead of watching TV.” At the end of his spiel, he asked, “Who wants to take up the challenge?” and a few of us raised our hands. (I admit my hand wavered a little).

I’ve never been too gun-ho about watching TV. I watched TV as a kid, I know, but not as much as the average kid, maybe an hour or two a day. I think I watched movies more than anything else. My parents were too cheap to pay for satellite, so I didn’t have a lot of exposure at home. Only when I was over at friends’ houses did I have the chance to indulge.

I’ve always been OK with just reading a book or talking with someone in lieu of staring a screen that dictates how I should think or what I should look at. It’s a little disconcerting that a box-like object that can transfer and receive moving images can have so much power over us. The thing is, I don’t get much out of it. When I watch my shows, I realize that I usually feel depleted or like I’m not quite satisfied enough. Sure, I’m entertained for a short while, but after about 20 minutes or so of any show, I’ve noticed, I get bored. What do I see when I watch TV? I see people putting down others, new crap about crimes (can you count the number of crime shows out there?), lawyers and bang-bang shoot em’ up. I see sexual innuendos, rich people with nothing better to do than have their lives be broadcast to the world and people seeing their dreams crushed by some all-knowing authority. That’s not entertainment!

And so, the challenge starts today. And no, I didn’t cram as much “non-educational TV” in as I could last night, watching all my favorite shows until my eyeballs popped–in fact, I haven’t spent any time watching TV this week. Instead, I chose to spend my time catching up with roommates, working out with friends, and spending time with my boyfriend and fellow Rotaracters. Plus, I rather enjoyed having time to read WordPress Blogs and my favorite books.

From now on, I plan to forego my temptation to watch 30 Rock, Downton Abbey and Big Bang Theory, and replace it with focusing on my hobbies and interests instead. This means no reality shows and no more mindless activity. It means working on my knitting and crochet projects, writing articles and doing well in school.

What’s not part of the challenge:

-Going over to someone’s house who wants to watch TV

-Watching things like the History Channel, National Geographic TV, PBS…I don’t generally watch these, but someday I might watch them on a regular basis.

-YouTube. I discover new music here and usually do homework or something else, so it’s not watching much. I also watch things like V-Sauce and Smarter Every Day, two channels which are educational and interesting.

-Watching movies

So that’s what I plan to do. It’s time to hit the books.

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