One of the difficulties we face when we return to the world involves connectivity. You said goodbye to your phone, Facebook, email, etc. when you left. But upon your return, you are faced with clear choices about what you want to do. Some people want to jump back into it immediately, while others slowly return, if ever.

Though Facebook and email are free, phones are not. What’s a post-convent girl supposed to do? When I returned, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to talk on the phone, let alone pay for one. Are there ways to ease into it?

After exploring many options, I would say the answer is yes. First of all, if you don’t feel ready to get a phone, don’t do it. What’s the point of forcing it? You’ll eventually get one, so enjoy the freedom while you can! One of the things I found enjoyable about the convent was not feeling the pressure of unanswered messages and calls. Also, once you have a phone, it creates an expectation. Therefore, if you don’t know if you are up for random calls from family/friends, getting a phone right now might not be the best idea. Borrowing other people’s phones will allow you to call out while also minimizing inbound calls.

Eventually you’ll be ready to take the plunge and the next question will be about money. Some people have a generous loved one who is willing to cough up the cash for a phone plan, but what if that’s not the case for you? When I started looking around for a phone plan, I was stunned. I was not in a position to sign a 2-year contract for $50-90 per month. My income was ZERO and I was depending on others to provide me with food, clothing and shelter.

I ended up getting a pay-by-the-minute plan through Page Plus and it served me very well. I had an old phone lying about and I got a new number via Page Plus. There are many no-contract phone companies, so look around. And, the benefit of using an old phone was that I paid nothing for my device. A lot of people have their last model phone in a drawer collecting dust and you can use this to help you get started. This can get you by for awhile until you get on your feet financially. I was hesitant to do this at first, because I assumed these companies would have poor service. But, I found out that many people are now switching to these no-contract carriers because they have the same service, cost less and don’t require a commitment. Be not afraid!

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and you have internet access where you live, I would recommend trying Google Voice. The easiest way to explain it is that it is a “pointer.”  You can get a phone number through them, and then “point” it wherever you want. For example, lets say you sign up for a Google number and choose 313-222-5555 (yes, you can select your phone number). You could have your account ring your parents’ house phone when anyone called your 313 number. If you stay with your friend for the weekend, you can have your friend’s cell phone ring when someone calls your 313 number. One of the many cool things about this is that if you have a minute phone, you can save your minutes by texting and calling through the web instead. Did I mention that it is totally free? It took me awhile to get the hang of using it but it was totally worth it.

In conclusion, the choices we have today for communication are changing all of the time. Pray about how available you want to be and make your choices based upon that prayer. Also, don’t allow anyone to pressure you to do things when you are not ready. For example, people can be hurt if you have a phone but never text them back. So if you’re not ready to text, don’t get a phone (or don’t tell people you have one!). If you are considering a phone but find the prospect of research overwhelming, you can ask friends or family members who are really into technology to explore some options for you. It can allow you to save money and give them a way to help you out. Finally, feel free to contact us if you have questions. God bless!

By Pinkie.