I remember the first day I was given my Fitbit, Crystal. It was Christmas Eve. I sat on the couch of my mom’s living room, with a mysteriously wrapped little box I had been given by her boyfriend, Richard. I adore him. For context, Richard is a quirky film professor at USC — academic, with highly curated tastes and a dark sense of humor (imagine one of those artsy KALX folks, but 40 years older). I had no idea what would be in that package, and, as I had made fun of my mom’s Fitbit a few hours earlier, Crystal was the last thing I expected to find. When I opened the box, I quickly reshaped my disgusted expression into a wide, gleaming smile.
“Wow! Amazing! What all can it do?”
But this letter isn’t about Crystal and my beginnings. It’s about how our relationship has grown and subsequently been cut short during our time together on campus. Some days, she’s buzzed my wrist to tell me I had reached my 10,000 steps before my first class — a sure sign that the rest of my day would go smoothly. Other times, she’s fallen off my wrist into my book bag, my bed, my dresser, the compost bin inside Kroeber (retrieving her that time was a particularly bonding experience) and even into a 60-person co-op-sized serving of arugula salad. Until this moment, we’ve always reconnected. However, she now seems to have left me for good, choosing instead the rolling, grassy hills of Memorial Glade.
The hardest part about being a UC Berkeley student is time management. The responsibilities start with struggling to juggle just four classes at the start of freshman year, and then joining clubs, followed by getting a job. By the time you’re an upperclassman, you’re climbing the ranks until you’re managing those clubs, writing for The Daily Californian, and before you know it, sticking to your New Year’s resolution of losing the freshman 15 becomes impossible in the midst of all the stress-eating and lack of sleep. Basically, Fitbits are an amazing help for any high-achieving UC Berkeley student, and I am a disaster without mine.
Crystal is who kept me motivated. She woke me up in the morning with a cute little wrist tingle and showed shooting fireworks on her screen when I reached my step goal (which was, nearly always, halfway up the exhausting Bancroft hill where everyone needs some extra encouragement). She buzzed 10 minutes before every hour, reminding me to get ready for my next class and essentially giving me 10 minutes of extra Berkeley time. She bugged me to leave the library when I had sat there for too long, and kept a better watch (pun intended) on my mental and physical well-being than just about any service on campus.
Aside from depressive episodes spent sheltered under my covers and extended periods of inactivity, her absence has reignited my high school theater student-era disgust toward anything athletic. I mean, how could I dare work out alongside the pretentious regulars at the stadium gym without AirPods or a Fitbit? Why get a healthy drink at Strada if I don’t have to track my calories? Why take the stairs to the second floor of Evans when I’m not counting my steps?
So thus, I write this love letter, calling for Crystal to come back so I can get my life together and successfully complete my senior year. Crystal, only you know how to make my heart race and and how to encourage me to go the extra mile. I miss the way you kept my wrist warm and kept me company during those midterm-season 15,000-step days. If you choose to leave me for good, I hope you find some other stressed-out UC Berkeley student who will treat you well.
Contact Veronica Irwin at [email protected].