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The special bond between human and calculator

Upon my graduation with my undergraduate mechanical engineering degree, I decided it was time to thank the real hero in my life, the one that was there for me during the toughest times, the one that never let me down and always knew the right answers.

My TI-84 calculator.

I bought my TI-84 back in 8th grade when it was finally a required item on my school supply list for Geometry. I had no idea the adventures we had ahead of us. From playing Block Dude in the stands of my football stadium for 4 hours when our high school bathroom had a massive fire and we all had to evacuate to working on my Calculus 3 homework in the dorm common area, this machine was always by my side. I even left it on a bus I took from Tallahassee, FL to Gainesville, FL after working on my homework during the ride. The calculator kept journeying all the way down to Miami until the bus system put it on a new bus and delivered it back to me!

As a result of my close bond with my calculator, I posted a small salute to it on my Instagram. What I found out is that everyone LOVES their calculators.

Here are just a few of the comments I got:

”I’m the same way with mine! Is it weird to have a special bond with a calculator? Lol”- vlong11

“Omg I miss my ti84!!! I had a silver glitter one, I loved it! I miss it! I wonder if I can find it at my parents’ house!”- phd_fashionista

“Haha I am exactly the same with mine! ” –dr_laura_doodles

“I love my TI too! No shame. They see it ALL.”- kat_deit

“:) I LOVED my TI-85. I got me through HS and college, used at work. It went MIA a number of years ago :(“- hcplaya

“I loved it! I have a TI Cx cas ”- girlknowstech

“I remember my ti84. Reason I still can’t do mental math! How awesome”- fashionsurgeon
“Omg that’s amazing!!!!!! I have a T-89 I believe. And I haven’t used it in quite sometime I hope it’s still great!!!”- astroathens

It is pretty spectacular how such a comparatively simple piece of technology has become the device to which we attach our feelings, possibly even more than to our cell phones which are constantly at our sides. Why do we love them so much?

Well, I can only speak for myself, but this calculator has been with me longer than most things in my life, especially electronics. It cost enough money that I worked hard to preserve it, even though on its own it is surprisingly durable. As many of us know, a good number of calculators have taken the steep dive off of our cramped college desks. They might explode their batteries and battery cover all over the floor, but pick them up and smack those batteries back in and you are 100% good to go. That is a lot more than I can say for most smartphones.On top of that, for anyone in the STEM fields, you need continued use of a calculator all the way through college, meaning you most likely stared at its screen into late hours of the night when you were alone studying in your dorm. However, you overcame this moment, conquered it, and (hopefully) passed that class. Who was at your side the whole time? Ms. TI-84.

After sharing my TI calculator love, I got a pretty cool graduation surprise in the mail from Texas Instruments.

A brand new TI 84 Plus CE.

And of course nothing can replace my love for my original calculator, but man 10 years of technological advancement can do wonders, even for a calculator. (They fixed the battery exploding all over the floor problem! It’s rechargeable now!)​

One thing for sure, TI calculators will be my calculator choice for years to come, as I am sure it will continue to be for thousands of high school students taking AP Calculus BC, forming a new generation of students with a technological partnership for the ages.

Follow Erin on Twitter and Instagram for more fun science and engineering!

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