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October 26, 2023

Paper: My irreplaceable academic companion

Sofía Exposito
The expanding reliance on technology in everyday life tends to overshadow the simplicity of traditional paper. The Sidekick staff writer Ishana Sharma discusses the transformation of the addition of digital methods and the widespread effect it has had on people.

You are typing away on your laptop, taking notes for an upcoming test. 

You decide that you need a quick break, conveniently switching tabs to a BuzzFeed quiz. After discovering which TV show character is your personality twin, you get back to work, but soon get stuck on a confusing concept. 

You want to search it up, but that BuzzFeed quiz tab is still open and only a click away, so why not temporarily distract yourself from the problem and lose yourself in the rabbit hole of BuzzFeed quizzes? 

This is why I prefer taking notes on paper rather than on technology. Electronic devices provide plenty of outlets for distractions, such as BuzzFeed quizzes and social media, and I have been a victim of this far too many times. 

You may be someone strongly believing technology provides easier access to education and is a more efficient way to get work done. Yes, physical textbooks might not be the most modern way to study or quickest way to derive information. However, after experimenting with various note-taking methods, I can safely say that handwritten notes on paper is my favorite way to retain content.

After I began using paper more frequently, I found myself resisting the temptation to pick up my phone to scroll through my Instagram feed because it felt like a great effort to unlock my phone and swipe to the app. I feel significantly more productive this way, getting more work done in less time without constant distractions.

A sheet of paper with a pen in hand can be a powerful pair, acting as a barrier between the person and their phone.

Call me old-fashioned, but writing on paper is an extremely effective way to retain information. Hand writing on paper engages the mind more, as the physical hand movements of the pen moving up and down the paper and unique markers like highlighting and circling key words creates a more personalized experience. This experience helps to recall the information more easily as hand writing notes on paper provides memories with more hooks to hang on to, helping a person more actively learn new information.

Other than note-taking, paper has its own charm in various other forms.

When we have to read a book for my English class, I always make it a point to get a physical copy, even though many of my classmates use an online PDF. The feeling of a tangible book is something a digital copy will never be able to replicate. Feeling the pages as I flip through them fosters a unique connection with the content. As I feel each page, I feel as though I am in a setting with all the characters, feeling exactly how they are feeling at that moment. Embodying the feelings of the characters helps me understand the text at a deeper level, even if it is nonfiction. 

Compared to screens and their blue light, paper materials are less straining on the eyes. As I began to utilize paper more often, I could feel my eyes feeling less tired compared to when I used to take notes digitally. This helped me feel more refreshed after each study session, and motivated me to get more work done.

As the decades pass, it is likely that e-books and digital note-taking devices will continue to increase in popularity. Let it not be forgotten that paper has brought us so far in the world today; electronic forms of studying and note-taking would not have existed if it was not for the invention of paper centuries ago.

Follow @_ishana_sharma on X.

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About the Contributors
Ishana Sharma, Staff Writer
Ishana is a junior and second-year staff writer for The Sidekick. She was born in Bangalore, India. In her free time she enjoys reading, baking, watching TV shows and hanging out with friends and family. She has been playing the piano since she was seven. She has a mixed breed dog named Snowie who was adopted in 2017. Her way to de-stress is by going on long walks with her dog while listening to music. Her favorite TV shows are Friends and Outer Banks. She could read and re-read the Harry Potter book series and never gets bored of it because it is an escape from reality, and prefers the books over the movies any day. Her favorite drink is iced coffee, and her favorite foods are Thai food, tacos and anything chocolate. Her favorite candies are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Twix. She would go to the beach everyday if she could because she finds the ocean waves calming and peaceful. You can reach out to her through her email at [email protected] or on Instagram at @.ishana_sharma.
Sofía Exposito, Staff Designer

Sofia Exposito is a sophomore and staff designer for The Sidekick. Five years ago, Sofia moved to Coppell, Texas from Venezuela, as her relatives reside here. Although English isn’t her first language, Sofia was able to pick it up quickly upon her move, taking only about one or two years. She adores drawing and spends most of her time sketching and creating designs and cartoons whenever she can. Her love for drawing has only grown over the years as Sofia aspires to be an animator and work for a large animation company one day. Some of her favorite animated movies are Spirited Away and Totoro as she’s a huge Studio Ghibli fan, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. She's an extrovert and loves to involve herself in conversation with new people, especially about things she’s very interested in. She loves the beach and swimming due to the beautiful sunset scenery. Her favorite foods include: anything chocolate, but mostly M&M’s, which are perfection in her eyes, and McDonalds. Contact her at [email protected], or on Instagram (@sofiaexpriv).

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    Kavya LokhandeFeb 13, 2024 at 12:50 am

    Such an interesting perspective! Good job Ishana Sharma