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Farmers' Harvest

The school news site of Lewisville High School

Farmers' Harvest

The school news site of Lewisville High School

Farmers' Harvest

Column: Verifying 18 years of my life

‘Never would I have guessed my future would depend on a phone number.’
Amie Jackson
“These days I realize how useless and inconvenient a phone is.”

When I was a child, I used to beg for a phone. My argument was I would need it for communication and safety. In reality, I wanted to download games like Crossy Road and Subway Surfers. My parents would coldly reply with “You can buy one when you’re older.” Eighteen years have flown by, and I still have no phone. I’m over it now, but recently it’s come back to haunt me.

At Southridge Elementary, every year there was an assembly for online safety. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes as the teachers spoke about cyberbullying or sharing information. It didn’t affect me, and I was forced to be lectured on it for two grueling hours. It didn’t help that no one was paying attention. Girls giggled and whispered to themselves while the boys kicked each other in the back.

Currently, having no phone has felt like the equivalent of a death sentence. I’ve been applying for colleges, scholarships and federal aid. All required a phone number to make an account. It’s been disgustingly difficult to make one, let alone apply for the actual application. I feel like I was told to order an ice cream from McDonald’s, but I struggled to find a McDonald’s. It’s so embarrassing knowing I’m getting frustrated logging into a website instead of being confused over any test or application. It’s like colleges soft-blocked me with a one-foot-tall baby gate.

Throughout both elementary and middle school, I never needed a phone. As much as I wanted one, I could easily live without one. I cackled inside, watching other kids whining about losing their iPhone 7’s because they were grounded. Fourth and fifth grade was when most kids got their phones. As envious as I felt, I lost interest when I got my iPad. It could do all of the same things besides calls and messages. However, Email solved that gap.

I started to feel disconnected from others as they got more attached to their phones and less attached to friends. “Call me” or “We made a group chat” were all I heard. The first time I experienced the need for a phone was at Durham Middle School. My athletics coach wanted to make a group chat, and she wanted to only relay information through there. She used Remind Me because it was a school-friendly messaging app. I had to inform her I couldn’t be a part of the group chat. She didn’t believe me and said “Just download it” on my iPad. It didn’t work, and she refused to tell me in person. I had to remind her three times during the day if I wanted to find out about any news. I had to constantly harass my friend for any news, daily. For multiple events, I was continuously not informed or left out due to my inability to own a phone.

For any calls I needed to make, I would ask my parents or use the school’s office phone. Luckily most teachers used Email, so I was extremely prepared in middle school. Teachers started to send information by Email when the school day was over. Even in high school, I didn’t need a phone. That being said, COVID-19 and Canvas helped me a lot. That sounds bad, but it’s true. Teachers began to push communication on Webex. After COVID-19 about half my class admitted to using it as if it was the new Facetime. 

I’ll never live down the agony of having to sit with my counselor, Mrs. Smith, during lunch because I couldn’t apply for FAFSA. We sat on hold for a good 20 minutes. Afterward, the line automatically hung up. It didn’t help that the website was glitching and breaking down. Too many people were applying at the same time. Meanwhile, I had to receive a physical letter telling me I needed to verify my account.

If I wanted to, I could make a fake one and ask to be sent information through Email. Email is usually the default to most notifications, once you make an account. As an adult, most Emails are a formal way of communicating. Phones are just for personal use. I don’t want to be that guy, but there’s always some alternative. I almost feel bad for the people who spend $900 for a new iPhone, every year. 

These days I realize how useless and inconvenient a phone is. In the past, I was jealous of other kids, until I stopped caring. Why is a phone number so important? Email has served me just fine, and if there was no WiFi, I would ask someone for their phone. If a social security number, Email, tax returns and all my parents’ personal information isn’t enough, then I blame the government. I refuse to believe a phone is important. You can’t force me to buy one just to make a FAFSA account or any other account.

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