Building a Life Outside the Internet


NoSurf Struggles and Escapism
So I’ve wrote about escapism on here before, and how the internet was pretty much my go to for running away from my issues and responsibilities until the last minute, and annoyingly I’ve starting to regress back into that.
Exam times are conducive to stress, and with that comes wanting to run away from it. I did quite well this exam period with keeping away from situations where I could browse online. This meant studying with a study buddy, and studying at the library (I’ve found a new favourite study spot :smile:) , but once I got home I would often be very unproductive due to giving myself the excuse of not wanting to study more after having spent the day on it.

Netflix has been a big issue with this, but thankfully still almost no reddit. I did go to check the top headlines in the political sub the last few days, so I need to stop doing that because that’s one of the primary things I wanted to avoid.

Similarly, I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible with a good friend who is going back overseas soon, so trying to balance that with everything has been difficult, and I’ve been sacrificing gym and study to spend time with her.

There is a large divide between where I was a 1 month ago and where I am now, largely due to the change in my responsibilities. I no longer have multiple assignments or the internship, instead it was just 3 exams to study for, which meant that I couldn’t just switch tasks when I was bored as there wasn’t much variety in them, and similarly I wasn’t completing multiple things in a day. i.e. before I’d spend the day at the internship, then come home and maybe do some study, and then go to the gym, whereas now I’ve just been studying during the day, and either going home and putting of going to the gym to half heartedly study, or spending time with my friend at night.
I felt more content back then, but I think I feel happier now because

I’ve got 1 last exam in a few days, and then my semester is over and I’ll have 3 months of free time :confused: so it will be difficult to stave off mindless browsing unless I’m busy.

Some people really value their free time, and I’ll get to a place like that when I’m older I’m sure, but at the moment I just really want to stay busy because I know that my free time is just wasted with useless things, and so I’d rather get things out of staying busy, then get no real enjoyment out of my free time. Figuring out what I actually enjoy is hard but worth it, but right now all I’ve got is travelling that I’m certain of.

Plan for the Break
Last year I couldn’t wait for my break to arrive, where as I really wish I could keep doing classes now haha.
I’ll be on holidays for around 3.5 weeks, broken up into intervals, which will be fun, but those are in December and February, so I need to plan around that.

In January I might take some extra classes to help get ahead a bit on my degree, so that I have spare units to complete a math minor later on without having to overload on subjects. It will also keep me busy which I’ll be looking forward to, but I need to organise that dates due to some clashing with my last holiday.

I’ve also got the task of having to start building up a data science portfolio, because apparently those are really good to have now when trying to get your first job, and it seems like the most worthwhile thing I could do at the moment to get better with my programming and also my stats and analytics skills.

I’m kind of preparing myself to not do as well as I was hoping this semester which sucks because I’ve put in more effort this semester than in any other. I’ll still do better than in the past, but I don’t think it’ll be that much better, but a big difference I’ve found is that I’ve understood the class content to a far deeper extent that before when I’d just rote learn everything before an exam and forget about it, and I think that is why I’ve enjoyed the subjects much more than usual. I’ll still probably forget this semester’s content after a few moths haha, but it’ll be easier to recollect if I ever need it again.

Things to Focus on:

  1. Study for my last exam
  2. Meditate at night
  3. Don’t watch Netflix at night
  4. Keep away mindless browsing


Wow it been over 2 weeks since my last update, and what a strange 2 weeks it has been in terms of nosurf.

So recapping I suppose, I finished my last exam; it sadly didn’t go as well as I wanted due to one very confusing question, but I’m still quite happy with how I did. I’m slightly worried about getting my results next week as not doing as well as I would have hoped is going to be quite a hit because I really did try and put more effort in this semester, but if it isn’t rewarded then it will definitely be quite discouraging.

After my last exam I ended up just binging a youtube channel and playing overwatch excessively. I pretty much gave myself a ‘fuck it’ week to do what ever I wanted, however it didn’t go that well and I very much regret it and am still trying to get back to where I was a few weeks ago. I wasted sooo many hours of youtube and gaming over the past 1.5 weeks and it does not feel good knowing that, but a lack of commitments has made it hard to stop. I haven’t played overwatch for a week now, but youtube is still an issue, largely as a result having too much free time, but in writing that I guess I’m blaming my lack of self control on my circumstances as opposed to not caring about no surf enough, and to be honest I think that nosurf was mostly driven by a need to focus on other things (primarily uni and friends), which hasn’t been a priority over the last 1.5 weeks.

I’ve spoken to my friend about doing the online programming course (probably cs50), which I’ll try and get started on next week. I’m worried that I’ll start on it and then give up quite quickly without anything more than self discipline and motivation to drive me as there want be any real punishment for giving up, unlike in university.

I ended up working a lot more though, which helped to break up my internet time and also fund my upcoming trips lol. I’ve just started the first day of my first holiday, but it hasn’t been too eventful so far as I’m still waiting for my friend to arrive.

I applied for an internship position for next year, completed a practical task as part of the process which they said I did quite well in, and went to the first interview round but sadly didn’t make it through to the final round. That was a bit of a bummer, but I’ve taken away 2 key points from that experience (be more enthusiastic about what you want to do/continue learning and try and show your experience in more detail) as the interviewers were nice enough to provide me with comments about how I went. I’ll try and put those to use in the upcoming internship application period, and also work on speaking more clearly, as I felt that was definitely an issue for me at times with technical things. I’ll try and apply for some more positions in the coming months, even if to just improve how I interview because it seems like experience/practice is what really helps with interviews.

I’ve also scheduled for a catch up with people form my old internship which I was very daunted by at first but asking actually went very well, so that is lesson for me.

I recently listened to Time by Pink Floyd, and I’m sure it has a similar effect on most people because damn those lyrics and very real haha.

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."

I mean it captures what everyone does (and a big regret that a lot of people have), but for me I think it encapsulates that fact that I’ve wasted so much time on things which I know both in the moment and in hindsight are useless ways to pass and waste time which I’ll never get back. But I think just as importantly it is the fact that I often revert to taking a passenger seat in my life and just let it happen to me as opposed to trying to build the one I want, and I excuse this by saying I’m waiting for that inflection point in my life, some divine and destined event that will change me and make me finally change for the better and never go back. But that is never going to happen. I need to take control and treat myself as someone with agency.

I’m soon to be halfway to 21 (I’m in my twenties now, and I distinctly remember being 16 and worrying where I’ll be at 20 years old, and always using the excuse of having years until I was 20 to sort my shit out, but that never really worked out :confused:)

Bit of a rant I suppose haha, and a self righteous one which I feel like I’ve been on before, but recognising shortcomings and doing nothing to fix them is worse than having not recognised them in the first place, so not happy with myself for the last 1.5 weeks, but they shouldn’t detract from the progress I made prior to that which led to what I view as my best exam period so far and my favourite semester at uni so far.

I think not having a clear direction is the biggest hurdle at the moment, as when I have uni grades are the goal, while now I have 3 months without that and so I have to set myself some task, which will have to also fit around my travel plans.

I’ll go for a walk now to explore the city and them spend time with my friend tonight. I’ll be sure to add an update after my trip in a few days.


The holiday was amazing, my friend and I spent essentially the entire trip together, and with pretty much no internet/surfing apart from the occasional facebook message. Definitely one of my favourite trips ever!

Now that I’m back home I want to get into a healthy routine which doesn’t have me at home for too many hours in the day, as that is where I struggle the most with mindlessly browsing the internet and then feeling shitty at the end of the day when I’ve done nothing.

Tomorrow I’ll go to the library to start working on a data science project, and hopefully get coffee with my former coworker, but today I just ran some errands and spent a few hours with a friend bike riding and playing board games, and I’ll probably do some cleaning tonight.

I’ll get back into using a bullet journal as a to-do list to get stuff done, especially the small stuff.


So i got my results back for the semester and I did really well, easily my best results at uni so far! I did slightly miss my goal of an 85 average, but I was just under so I’m still very happy with it :slight_smile:

I’m been hanging out with friends a lot recently, and am going on my next trip with friends tomorrow which I’m excited for!

I’ve been watching a bit more youtube than usual, but reddit is still very under control thankfully. The holidays have been really good at helping me disconnect from the internet and spend time with my friends and self. I’ve also had to face some more emotions about going into a brief relationship with someone, and not drowning out those emotions with random web surfing has been invaluable.

Being on holidays I’ve still given myself much more leeway than usual with surfing, netflix, and now some games, so I’ll try to tighten those restrictions as they have been a little too lenient so far.

My goal to try and learn some programming has not even been attempted so far, but I’m ok with that for the moment. I want to get back into a gym routine as a number 1 priority.


Congratulations for your excellent results, your hard work is paying off. You seem to be in a very positive mindset right now! :slight_smile:

You mentioned drowining out your emotions with web browsing - this is something I’ve never even thought that I was doing, but now I am reflecting more… Would you say the nosurf habits you’re building are leading to more emotional knowledge of yourself?



Hi J,

I found that when i was angry, sad, disappointed, and pretty much experiencing any negative emotions I would just escape online and distract myself or play games, etc to make myself feel better. In stopping myself from running away from my emotions (and to a larger extent my responsibilities and problems) I’ve had to face my emotions and think more about them whichI guess has helped me know myself on a more emotional level. I’m not exceptional at it by any means (no where close), but I’m much better than I was previously :slight_smile:

Holiday and phone use
I recently got back from a holiday with friends, and although it was very fun I ended up spending quite a bit of time on my phone due to 2/4 of the other people in the trip often doing it which led to kinda strange group dynamics, and although I’d try to talk and interact face to face I found myself retreating to my phone in times of boredom which was not good.

I’ve also been on my phone my much more recently due to talking and messaging a lot with a close friend of mine. We’ve started doing video and voice calls as a supplement for messaging and I find it much more enjoyable as it create so much more connection with the person and allows for a proper conversation, and so I’d definitely recommend that for anyone that wants to try texting less.


Hello there! It was great reading your journal. Feels great to see how much progress one can make from this! Congratulations!

Honestly it made me realise quite a few things about myself. I am about 10 years older than you - so certainly at a different life stage. It’s not reddit or youtube that eat up all my time. But it’s facebook & instagram. And of course binge watching tv series at times. I am so happy that I wasn’t much on social networks during my academic days. But it’s been pretty much the norm in the last 5 years.

I work as a Strategy Planner in an ad agency, which means knowing what’s the latest thing people are talking about, is also a part of my job. And that makes it an occupational hazard. So yes, I can’t go on a complete social media detox.

Sadly the 5 year growing addiction to social media also means I have wasted time on social media which could have been used instead to learn a new skill, improve a different skill, spend more time with my husband, read more books or establish more human connections. I am into crafting and I actually consider myself a serial hobbyist - which also goes on to say that I can’t commit myself to a single hobby and i get bored easily. But couple of months back I started getting back to hobbies which will help me keep myself off the phone. I hope I can continue that.

While in college or my first couple of jobs, I always had my best friends (they were in different cities) whom I would call at least once a week for a 30 minute chat. Now, I am in a weird life-stage because everyone around is having babies and I guess my husband and I have procrastinated on this major decision for a long time now. And because new mums and new dads don’t really have much time for their friends (especially the ones without babies), I fell into the habit of just staying in touch with friends over social media. And that’s become such a deep seated habit that these days I can’t call anyone except my parents, sister or husband. I am happy I married my best friend but i guess all of us need to have a few strong human connections, a small bunch of friends to call our own who can’t be replaced by any social media.

Last year both of us took a week long photography trip to the Himalayas. It was great because the mobile phone connectivity was so bad that I stopped looking at my phone :slight_smile: And that meant I could soak in the natural beauty of the places we visited and enjoy the moment. We made a few friends in that trip as well and spent good amount of time with each other. But sadly my social media habits were back as soon as we returned from the trip.

I want to try and see what changes I can make in my habits at least this year, so that I can be more productive. Thanks for your honest accounts on your journal. Wish you all the best!