Sitting in a coffee house trying to complete some readings for another class, I finish a section glancing up deciding to take a break. I notice a light on my phone is blinking green, indicating a new message. I check the message and reply. My laptop is open in front of me, I retreat to the device checking my e-mail and other forms of social media. Nothing new, so I exit out of the windows, pushing it aside.
Still not ready to resume my readings, I look around the cafe. I notice other patrons following in the same suit. Many have notebooks, books, phones, iPods, and laptops all in front of them, shuffling between all of the devices, like a choreographed dance. Reading for a few moments, checking their phone briefly, back to their book, next typing on the computer, only to return to their original task of reading. I am not judging, for I fall victim to this routine as well. Are we that easily distracted that we can't focus on a simple task, such as reading for school, are we so worried about being disconnected from society that we have to constantly be checking our phones and computers to fill that need, or are we simply just multitasking?
As I am sitting their debating this, I overhear a conversation between two people at an adjacent table. A med student is talking to her friend about an upcoming exam. Apparently, it is a major exam worth a significant amount of her grade and rumors have been circulating over the potential difficulty. As I am listening to the lady illustrate the importance of this examination to her friend, I look over to see her Facebook open on her computer. I am not overly surprised by the observation, but wonder how important this exam is and if she indeed actually worried. I see this as a common occurrence. I wonder what we, as individuals and as society as a whole, see as a priority and what weight each holds. For this med student, doing well on her upcoming exam and being socially connected are both priorities with the same weight of importance.