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Column: Life without a smart phone

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LG Electronics (CC BY 2.0)

Cell phones such as these were common before the advent of smartphones, which have allowed users to access the Internet from almost any location and offers a wide variety of applications and features.

My friend Raymond always asks me, “so, when are you going to upgrade?” when he sees my old sliding Samsung phone.

I don’t think he understands that I don’t want to upgrade. While I’m a millennial and love using the internet and social media, I also love living with my basic phone.

Do you ever miss old cell phones and the simplicity of life that came with them? Or maybe just that wonderful keypad? Even in 2017, living with a basic phone has its benefits.

My phone has all the functions I need. I can call, text, save contacts, check the time, set an alarm clock and, if I really want, to set reminders. 

Photo Illustration by Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

A UA student demonstrates the use of the Arizona Mobile app on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2016. Smartphones can be used to complete many everyday tasks, but are relied on heavily for easy social media access.

For me, the more advanced functions that smartphones offer are superfluous. If most people really thought about it, perhaps they would agree.

My dad often tries to convince me to upgrade, citing the convenience of having the Internet in my pocket. I’ve never needed access to information that badly. It can wait until I’m at home at my computer or when I find Wi-Fi for my laptop.

I see huge benefits in not having instant access to information. 

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Since it’s often inconvenient to find an answer the old-fashioned way, I have a lot of incentive to remember what I learn. As a result, I almost never have to look the same thing up twice.

Also, because I need to wait to quench my curiosity, having a basic phone teaches me patience. This waiting parallels the other inconveniences of life that aren’t instantly resolved, and I can handle them better than many my age. 

Besides, I often learn that the information I just “had to have” was not important after all, leaving me free to use my time on something else.

I can’t imagine how much enjoyment of their surroundings many people lose by staring at their smartphones. People tend to talk about the memories they made living their lives rather than the memories they made goofing around on Snapchat. And my life and the people around me me are too precious to compromise by playing Temple Run or Fruit Ninja as well. I just don’t see myself getting anything from owning a smartphone. 

In my life without a smartphone, I’m never anxious to check my notifications. I’m never stressed when I drop my basic phone (it has survived two runs through a washing machine, one smash against concrete and dozens of drops). I never worry that anyone will steal my phone, and I never have to pay for data.

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It’s weird to think that college students today are among the last group of Americans who were born before the arrival of the smartphone. Most of us have them now. 

In the excitement of this new technology, perhaps many never stopped to think what they might be giving up when they swapped their old flip phones and sliding phones for iPhones and Galaxies. But living without a smartphone doesn’t limit me; it frees me to enjoy more of life. 

For any of you curious and brave enough, I encourage you to try it.


Follow Toni Marcheva on Twitter.



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