Screens Got My Eyes Frazzled

Question of the Day: Have computer, television, eBook, and other forms of digital screens affected the way you read text?

Getting used to college has been an enormous task. There’s the issue of adapting to the new types of transportation (since I live off-campus and go to a very large school) such as using my legs much more often than I did in high school and relying on buses instead of motor vehicles and small cars. There’s the matter of always having to consume cafeteria and dining hall food instead of Mom’s hot and fresh homemade eats (my cooking is not exactly up to par). And then there’s the fact that everything I turn in must be sent through the Internet.

Blackboard. MasteringChemistry. School email. Forums. Scanned PDFs of textbooks. Now, instead of filling out paperwork and writing down answers on a paper test or circling A, B, or C on a Scan-Tron sheet, I simply write emails and type A, B, or C and press “Submit” buttons all day long. It seems much more simple and it saves A LOT of trees, but I believe my eyes are becoming…a little, well, frazzled.

Now, you can’t blame my poor retinas after looking at images of molecules and memorizing the different ways of plugging answers (it’s 3*10, not 3X10! and cm^3 instead of cm3) into the online assignment system all day. At times my eyes even seem to skip certain key words entirely. I put the charge instead of the ION like it told me to…am I going blind? Are my eyes, like, not functioning anymore? Are they finally beginning to dry up from the radiation that glares at me from the computer screen?

For some reason, I just can’t get used to doing everything online. To me, nothing assures that the teacher has gotten my paper unless I give it to her by hand, and a written test will always allow me to cross things out, make notes in the margins, and put in the correct answer that will be checked off as correct regardless of the way it is written. And, of course, reading a text online will never be as satisfying as being able to leaf through the actual book, smell its pages the first time you open it, and highlight notes with your pen.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you also miss the good ol’ times of printing press, or are you embracing the digital era with open arms? Do you think digital media and software is helping or hindering or society?


4 responses to “Screens Got My Eyes Frazzled”

  1. when i was in college (just 2 years ago) i had the majority of my classes in person and a few online. so it wasn’t that big of a deal. but i wouldn’t want to have to do everything on all. the computer screen gives me headaches.

    hope you adjust to college life well. i recommend going to the grocery store and buying your own food. don’t eat the cafeteria stuff because one, it’s not that great; two, it’s how people gain the “freshman 15”. maybe try getting a bike for good transportation around campus too.

    i find it pretty easy to read on my E-Reader. but I don’t enjoy reading long columns on the computer. it’s not the same kind of screen at all. but i also read in an old-fashion book, and that works just as well too. :)

  2. Amanda Sablan says:

    Like all things, digital media has its pros and cons. I did a blog post on this a while back on whether or not readers are smarter than techies, or if the line between them is blurred. I don’t like staring at screens all day which is why I’ll always prefer paper. Plus, I just feel as if I’m learning more without a computer (but that’s just me).

  3. writergirl says:

    I think the “digital era” is here and it definitely helps us communicate and reach people from the other side of the world. However, I believe that there are old stuff that should not be replaced. Like tests and papers. Ok, an assignment can be typed on the computer, but the paper should be given to the teacher by hand.

  4. Krispy says:

    I never liked studying/reading off the computer. Same as you, I don’t like reading on a screen for too long (though I spend tons of time on the internet, go figure). I think it IS more convenient to do certain kinds of assignments online though. I also liked having the lecture notes/slides and study guides available online, and I suppose online textbooks cost less. I still have a few sitting around that I wish I could get rid of. Also, when I was in college (yikes, 2 years ago!), we had to turn in hard copies for papers. Sometimes, it was hard copy, plus digital.

    So yeah, pros and cons. Good luck with adjusting! And like Cheryl said, don’t eat ONLY cafeteria food!

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