The third level of the University of New Hampshire’s Dimond Library houses a vending machine that provides students with the opportunity to quickly grab the items necessary for a virtually never ending study session. However, this grab-and-go machine goes one step further than pretzels and soda by selling technological accessories, such as phone chargers, implying a constant need for connection to electronic devices.
According to Richard Griffin of the UNH Computer Store, this tech vendor has sold 544 phone charging devices to students in the library since July, proving that, in this new, technologically driven society, people no longer just need a simple snack to recharge, but may need a literal charger, as well.
Students have begun a trend of carrying phone chargers in their backpacks due to this inability to let their phones die and their desire for constant, instant connection. Having a phone charger constantly at hand is the new normal, and UNH students have certainly picked up on the trend.
Twenty-two year-old UNH senior Joe Sweeney has embraced this new fad whole-heartedly, and keeps his one phone charger in his backpack every day.
“I just want to make sure I am always prepared to charge my phone,” Sweeney, said. “I feel like if my phone was dead, everything would just happen all at once.”
Sweeney admitted that his desire for a 100 percent battery charge had nothing to do with safety, and was all about the social aspect of his smartphone.
“It’s like an anxiety almost,” Sweeney later said. “It’s that feeling of not being connected to the world anymore, and not being fully ‘you’ anymore. There’s always that fear of missing out.”
Sweeney is not the only student on campus who feels the need to keep a charger in his backpack, as 19-year-old freshman Stephanie DiTraglia also always keeps her charger at hand.
DiTraglia worries that an emergency will happen while her phone is dead, causing her to be disconnected from the issue. Her phone-charging needs are less about the social aspect, and more about accessibility.
“Just in case,” DiTraglia said with a laugh. “In case anyone needs to get in touch with me.”
The need to have a phone readily accessible seems to be a popular trend, as 22-year-old Chris Morelli feels the same way.
“I’m one of those people where if someone emails me, I need to respond within 5-10 minutes,” Morelli, said. “I get really anxious that they are waiting on me to respond.”
Morelli feels as though he needs to be instantly accessible due to the importance of a timely response.
“I feel like other people are relying on the information they are asking me,” Morelli later emphasized. “I want to make sure they have it as soon as possible.”
But why is there this constant need for connection? Though all of these students may have had different reasoning behind their charging habits, they all came down to one aspect: fear.
Whether it be the fear of missing out, a fear of being unreachable during an emergency, or the fear of not getting back to somebody fast enough, all of these students are afraid to be without their cellphones.
A fully charged battery eases the anxieties that come from being inaccessible and allows for the constant connection these students fear being without.
Though these students do take part in the charging trend, not all students keep chargers on them. However, it is not because they do not feel the need for constant connection.
“I don’t keep a phone charger on me,” 21-year-old junior Asa Gomberg said. “But it’s only because I know that, if I need one, someone around me will always have one.”