I’m a 20-year-old college student living in a first world country. But unlike everyone my age, I do not own a phone, let alone a smartphone. This was fine until recently, but now in 2017, life has become an absolute nightmare.

A lot of my peers complain that their phone is a distraction or that it leads to toxic habits and that they wish they didn’t have it. They feel better when they can put their phone down and really be in the moment.

Not having a phone has cost me numerous friendships, job and internship opportunities and professional networking opportunities. I tell people that I don’t have one and they look at me like I just told them I don’t know the alphabet. They think that I’m trying to get out of keeping in touch, when in fact I want nothing more than to never lose contact. My social media is limited to Twitter because other apps aren’t compatible with PCs and unfortunately most of my peers either do not use Twitter or are not active on it. I end up being forced to exchange emails or social media information and any potential relationship dies out within a week.

Every single application now requires the phone number field. I’ve been putting my old home phone number for years now and it’s worrisome to think that someone else could have that number right now and be plotting the downfall of my life because I’ve bombarded them with a mess they never signed up for. I’ve missed out on numerous interview calls because of this too. It really is defeating.

I’m a commuter student too, which means I’m always on the move. Pulling out a huge wide laptop just to check if I’m taking the right bus has become a pain in the neck. It actually makes me feel more vulnerable because I just can’t start running or defending myself if something happens and as a female that uses public transportation a lot, it can be terrifying sometimes.The old way of using maps or taking notes only gets you so far and people usually don’t know how to explain directions anymore. This also means that I could be using my time on the train or bus using my phone to sharpen my skills or knowledge but instead, I spend it staring out the windows. I love reading but on moving vehicles, they can be real headaches. These tiny things really start adding up.

So, why don’t I have one? My family moves around a lot, which means my phone would have to be one more thing on an extremely long list of things to worry about. Switching plans and numbers is an even greater pain in the neck, especially when you have narcissistic parents that don’t let you work.

The pain of not having one is felt deeply by me because of where I live. But in other parts of the world, lots of people still do not own one. So today, make sure you appreciate the luxury you hold, take good use of it and be considerate of those who do not own one. Not everyone lives like you.

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