My, My… How Technology Has Changed Since I Was In High School

Now that I have been spending more and more time at my parents’ house in a southwest suburb of Chicago, I find myself more and more reminded of my high school years.

While living in North Carolina, I occasionally had the opportunity to come home and visit my friends. Many of these friends I have known for 10 years or close to having met them during high school. I also seem to keep running into other former classmates through my outings with friends that I haven’t seen since 2006.

Again and again, as I would exchange stories with former classmates, I am reminded of how technology has completely changed since my freshman year of high school in 2002-2003 to my senior year of 2005-2006.

Those were the days were MySpace was a social experiment and Twitter was just a sound a bird made as it flapped its wings. I even remember when I purchased my first iPod for my fifteenth birthday.

After going to an Apple Store with my parents, I returned to my classes the next day with my cool new gadget in hand. What I will have to one day tell my kids and grandkids is that in March of 2003, iPods were something very new and almost seemed odd.

“So this is an iPod,” I said as I showed a friend the device and scrolled with the wheel. “I can keep EVERY song I own on it. I have somewhere around 1,500 songs or so on it already but I have a lot more CDs to add to my computer. It’s just a pain because you have convert all of the audio to mp3 files.”

I was pleased to be able to jam to my favorite songs from Kelly Osbourne, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, the Backstreet Boys, and Lilix. Yeah. It was that long ago.

My friend looked at my little white jukebox brick with a puzzled look as she scrolled through the songs. “I have a Walkman CD Player,” she said almost insulted that such a device existed. “Why would I ever want to carry all of my music on me?”

Funny enough, in April 2003, Apple unleashed the iPod Color onto the world. This smaller, more colorful device was much more affordable than the $400 or so I shelled out for a 15GB device. They ended up becoming a hot new trend. A year later, just about everyone I knew either had an iPod or had plans of buying one in the future.

My mom now works at the high school I attended as a teacher’s aide. She regularly tells me how she has to stop kids from texting, tweeting and posting on Facebook on their cell phones.

Once again, I remember being considered overprotected for having a cell phone so I could call my parents when I would stay after school for theater, taught swim lessons or to work on a class project. I had a few friends that also had cell phones for the same reason but not many.

About a year later, almost everyone I knew had a cell phone. This was still long before the days of song ringtones, affordable internet access and the ability to play mp3s on your phone, and the only games you had resembled an updated version of Tetris.

MySpace was new but few people used it. Unfortunately, my high school ended up being one of the first in the area to crack down on students (especially athletes) who foolishly posted photos of them drinking or partying as if no one would see it. Some of those kids even got expelled.

It’s funny to think how different things would have been if I was in high school right now. I could easily exchange artsy Instagram photos with friends from our trips to downtown Chicago. I could tweet about how bummed I am to have to study all night on Twitter. I could exchange photos of my celebrity crushes with friends on Pinterest, and they could repin the photos on their boards.

My, my… How the world has changed in less than 10 years.