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An Ode To The iClicker

We used to go everywhere together. You’d be with me every class, every participation point. What happened to us?

The crazy thing was that we didn’t even have to be together forever. I could’ve rented you from the bookstore and just given you back at the end of the semester, but I decided to buy you since others insisted that I would need you all the way through college. Oh, how wrong they were.

Nowadays, you are hard to find. They’ve tried to replace you with countless apps and websites that just don’t have that personal feel. Why subscribe to an application when you could just pay once and have a friend for life?

Packback has poor communication skills and asks me to ask questions that go unanswered — all while it constantly judges me for my grammar mistakes and poor use of citations.

But you…you never did that. You never asked me to explain myself in some weird paragraph of run-on sentences while I just try to get to 200 words. All you ever asked was that I select, from five easy buttons, what I wanted to pick. I held you tight as I waited for the question to close and the poll to show what my peers had selected.

You were with me as we peered around the lecture hall, glancing at what our classmates had chosen so that we could put our blind trust in a stranger who probably also didn’t do the required reading the night before. I built endless character through the embarrassment of picking up your batteries after they had rolled down the steps at Forum when you suffered a life-threatening three-foot drop from the flimsy desk.

The times are a-changin’, just as they always have, I suppose. It keeps me up late at night thinking about how privacy screens and Top Hat have taken such a distinct college experience away from new students.

A year of Zoom classes made it hard for us to meet new people. Of all of the things I thought the pandemic could take away, I never thought you would be this one. The pharmacy clerk laughed in my face when I tried to get you vaccinated, but what does she know? Protection isn’t just for those of us without buttons, Trisha from CVS.

So here’s to you, old friend. You’re a classic. While there may not be many like you still around, that just makes you all the more valuable. So, maybe you’ll make a comeback when professors remember that your censors are literally installed in every classroom on campus, or maybe you won’t. Either way, they can’t take away the times we’ve shared.

You still have so much potential! Maybe when students and professors wake back up to the simplicity of multiple-choice questions, everyone will want you again. We could even get you one of those cool holsters as they have for Wii remotes!

Until then, I’ll keep you with me in the clutter pocket of my backpack, awaiting the day I have to pray that your batteries still have some power in them. We sure did share a connection — that is, when you were set to the right frequency.

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About the Author

Jordan Mansberger

Jordan Mansberger is a senior at Penn State majoring in broadcast journalism. He is from Cassville, Pennsylvania. He is a huge Pittsburgh sports fan as well as his Denver Nuggets. When he's not working, he can be found instigating Twitter beef with Padres fans and Antonio Brown or practicing his sub-par golf game.

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