Phones for thought…

Sep 082003
Authors: Jodi Friedman

In college it is sometimes easy to meet tons of people, but some may find keeping in touch is not as simple.

Some students own cell phones to help stay in contact with people because they are not home all that often.

Wireless phones allow people to talk anywhere at any time, including some inopportune moments.

“It’s hard for me to get anything done, especially studying,” said senior political science major Maggie Maynord. “There’s always someone to call or someone calling me.”

Various students can confirm they have been interrupted in class by an erupting phone the owner seemingly forgot to turn off.

“In one of my classes the teacher just got done giving the policy for cell phones and three cell phones went off, one right after another,” said Ben Barella, a sophomore construction management major.

Many cells have a variety of different rings users can choose from, furthering interference during lecture when they set off.

“I always have the person in my class who has downloaded the ring that is a theme song from a movie and it gets stuck in your head,” said Christie Hofmockel, a sophomore human development and family studies major.

Cell phones may add further distractions in classrooms when students would rather play phone games then engage in lecture.

“When you get bored in class, it’s always a good source of entertainment,” said Jackie Dray, junior human development and family studies major.

Quiet zones are also locations the jingle of phones may cause interruptions in studies unless they are switched to silent.

“Sometimes when I’m in the (Morgan) Library, I just turn my phone off so I actually get some work done,” said Kacey Kiggins, a junior human development and family studies major.

While some people remember to turn their phones off in certain settings, others might purposely leave their cells on because they are the only phone they own. The handfuls of wireless companies that offer cheap plans with unlimited minutes may make house phones unnecessary.

“My cell phone is the only phone I have,” Kiggins said.

Text messaging is feature that enables students to interact without having to utter a word out loud, even in class.

“They’re convenient because you can have conversations and the teacher won’t see you,” said sophomore English major Nick LoFaro, adding that one can keep the phone down by their waist to keep it hidden.

Professors sometimes develop strategies to keep phone use under control during class. Assistant history professor Alison Smith brings her policy up as soon as the first phone rings.

“It’s part of basically asking the students to be polite and respectful of the other students and myself,” said Smith, adding that phones are more of a distraction to fellow colleagues than to the teacher. “I haven’t noticed (phone use during class) but it could be going on.”

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