Sometimes paper is preferred

One night I was sitting at my desk, contemplating the very mundane task of either moving my tired body to the closet to grab my math textbook or jumping through the hurdles of pulling up the textbook online.

I chose the latter, clicking through my teacher's information page, clicking the website, clicking the textbook and clicking on the page number on the little box at the bottom of the screen. Clicking, clicking, clicking. And all my lovely hard work was well worth it as I spent time squinting at the screen, trying to comprehend a word problem without putting a single mark on my paper. Who was I kidding? I dragged my body out of my chair, grabbed my textbook, and flipped through the pages that made so much more sense in my hands than plastered on a screen.

The digital world has come whipping around the bend, advancing as it goes, and although I am supposed to be in the generation of tech-savvy teens, sometimes the online focus of everything feels overwhelming.

Obviously, there are benefits to a rapidly advancing digital age. Being able to Facetime my friend as I slowly finish homework and she draws, text people weekend plans and laugh at my photos from Homecoming are all things I still appreciate.

Oh, and Google. What a wonderful thing.

But sometimes it feels as though the tech giants of the world want to push screens on us so much that it becomes blinding. There always seem to be new Apple updates or apps that are almost pointless yet heavily promoted so as to squeeze every last cent out of a consumer.

Tests are also quickly becoming digitized. The SAT will retire its iconic paper test in 2023 and move online. For one of my AP tests this spring, I'm told we likely will not be given a physical copy of the accompanying documents to mark up before writing the essay. Paper is not the trend, even though nothing can replace the understanding one gets from pressing pen to paper and truly fleshing out ideas.

Internet applications are still quite useful. Having to type everything online means that I do not have to reveal my fairly messy handwriting to the world. Maybe if we typed less my handwriting would look a little better? Everything is about balance, and as much as the digital world improves some aspects of learning, there needs to be recognition that some things are just better on paper.

Give me an essay to write, and I will gladly type it out. But tell me to read a textbook, and I will physically take it out of my closet every single time.

- Leah Packer, a junior at Hinsdale Central, is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].