The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024
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The death of penmanship

The slow death of penmanship continues to amaze me. Schools no longer consider it a necessary part of their curriculum, cursive has been replaced by typing, thank you letters have been replaced by thank you e-mails and everyone is starting to write like third graders.

The event that made this loss of penmanship most obvious to me was when I took my SAT. Before you take the test, you must write a statement in cursive swearing that you are taking the test honestly. It took a room full of high school seniors longer to write that three-sentence statement than it took to finish the math section. Why would something that seems so simple be the most difficult thing for us to get through?

I personally gave up on cursive, and for the most part handwriting in general, years ago. My written journal has been replaced by a computer document, my essays are no longer written on lined paper and I can’t remember the last time I handwrote invitations to an event. It’s just easier to do all of these things on the computer. It takes less time, and it looks better. So why is handwriting even necessary any more? Do we really need it when we can just type it out and call it a day? I think we do.

Last year in one of my political science classes, my professor banned the use of computers for taking notes in class. At first, this seemed almost cruel. How could he deny us such a basic right of college note taking? And where am I supposed to buy a pen? Do they sell those anymore? How am I supposed to get every word he is saying down on paper when I’m fumbling around with such an archaic writing utensil?

Believe it or not, I learned more in that class than in any of my other classes. Handwritten notes help you memorize the material at a faster rate and force you to summarize what the professor is saying. This helps you to actively participate in class and understand the material. In all of my other classes, I simply transcribed every word the professor was saying without really paying attention. Only later when I read over my notes did I completely understand or realize that I didn’t understand, and at that point, it was often too late to ask questions.

Handwriting is taught in elementary schools at the same time as students learn to read. They learn things letter by letter. Rarely do people realize that this is strategically done. Allowing children to write out letters slowly and understand their form helps them to memorize and distinguish between words.

Math is also a big reason why handwriting will also be important. The ability to do problems on your own without the use of a calculator will always be required. Handwriting is always going to be important in this context. Neat and tidy handwriting helps you to organize problems and go logically through the problem step by step.

The most obvious reason why handwriting is still important is that we still have to do it. There are just some things that cannot be digitized quite yet. Prescriptions, legal documents and other official papers cannot be put on the computer for fear of fraud. According to Kate Gladstone, the director of the World Handwriting Achievement contest, each year the health of at least 1 in 10 Americans is endangered by the poor handwriting of their physicians, and up to $95,000,000 in tax refunds are not delivered because of unreadable tax-forms.

Technology is just not at the point that these kinds of documents could be ensured as true and honest, and it may never be. Imagine the chaos that would erupt if prescriptions were to go digital. Hackers would make millions forging prescriptions and impersonating doctors online. And if legal documents were to do the same, I can only imagine the kinds of fraud that would take place.

There is security in handwriting, but there is also warmth. A handwritten thank you letter in the mail is always more personal than a quick e-mail or a musical e-card. When I receive an event invitation on Facebook, I often wonder whether or not I am really invited, or if I was just an accidental click of a mouse. But with a handwritten party invitation that arrives securely in my mailbox, I feel more persuaded to attend.

Don’t let your handwriting die because of an electronic convenience. God forbid your electricity goes out the night before an essay is due. What would you do then? Handwriting, while its necessity may be less obvious, will never completely go away. It is in your best interest to keep your I’s straight and your O’s round. So next time you are tempted to create an event on Facebook to invite your friends to a party, consider buying stationery and making the event a little more personal.

Jessica Huseman is a CCPA and political science double major. She can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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