Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

We need to be bored more often

A call for inactivity
McKenna Premus / Daily Collegian

Standing in line, on the bus or in the elevator, what do you see? People staving off boredom through the screens in the palm of their hands. Cell phones are an unlimited source of entertainment and information that amuse us daily. Whether it’s scrolling through social media, messaging friends or using some app, there’s always something you can read or watch to keep yourself occupied––sounds good, right?

Well, I don’t think it sounds good.

In the process of receiving unlimited entertainment, we lose a quintessential human experience––boredom. Boredom, although, well, boring, is a part of being human. Eradicating it holds grim ramifications for us, causing more harm than good. In short, boredom is important, and we need more of it.

When we are bored, we are often forced to find entertainment in our own heads, exercising our own imagination. Many of you might remember times during class when you were so disinterested in whatever the professor was presenting that you began to daydream. While daydreaming, we may tend to shift towards far-out fantasies that inspire new ideas or concepts that spark our creativity––ideas that without boredom we would have never thought of.

In the novel “Notes From the Underground,” Fyodor Dostoevsky expresses that boredom is a part of being human that can lead us to achieve anything. Without boredom, we would not exercise our creativity and would find difficulty getting out of ruts and finishing projects. As Dostoevsky puts it “boredom sets one sticking golden pins into people, but all that would not matter. What is bad (this is my comment again) is that I dare say people will be thankful for the gold pins then.” Boredom seems like a negative thing, but we will be thankful for it later on.

It also leads us to try new things and discover new interests we may not have known we had. When bored, you may be more inclined to talk to new people and end up making a friend. But we lose this when boredom is eliminated––we are on our phones instead of meeting strangers.

You are also more persuaded to go to events or new clubs when bored, figuring that you’re not doing anything else. In the end, you have a new experience to joke about or a new passion, making all the boredom you felt before worthwhile. But if you decided to stay in and scroll through your phone, you would have never discovered this passion or made new connections at the school.

Boredom is also a way to give yourself a break. The modern world is filled with extra stressors, with many in this generation having high stress levels and reports of mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Part of this is our unlimited access to information, all in the palm of our hands, thanks to our iPhones. The modern world is overstimulating, meaning it’s good to unplug sometimes and enjoy a world that isn’t so focused on what’s happening. Boredom gives our minds rest, allowing us not to focus on outside activities and sights, but instead on what happens in our own head.

Our phones are an amazing invention that allow us to better connect with the world, but sometimes a disconnection is needed. We need to be bored as humans––it is important for our relationship to the outside world, the people around us and with ourselves. We need to give ourselves a break from constant stimulation and just be bored. So, that’s why I’m challenging students and everyone else that reads this article to allow yourself to be bored.

Don’t pick up your phone and scroll through Instagram or TikTok while in line or in class, heed the call to inactivity and be bored.

Lily Fitzgerald can be reached at [email protected].

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