Cell phones not only way to stay in touch

It is almost impossible to find a college student who does not own a cell phone. But in the words of Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot, “If you don’t have a cellular phone, it’s alright.”

While most students wouldn’t dream of communicating with their family and friends without a cell phone, some students have found affordable ways to get by without one.

E-mail, letters, phone cards and Web pages are practical alternatives for student who cannot afford the additional monthly bill of having a cell phone.

Jamil Muhammad, 18, said e-mail is a good way to communicate.

“You can explain yourself better when you write, versus saying it over the telephone,” said Muhammad, a junior mechanical engineering student from Richmond, Calif.

Although e-mail has become extremely popular because of its efficiency, the use of traditional mail is not extinct.

Valerie Washington, FAMU Post Office window clerk, said many students still write letters and mail packages.

“We get a lot of stamped mail sent out daily, because not everyone has e-mail or a cell phone,” Washington said.

However, traditional mail, commonly referred to as “snail” mail, isn’t free of cost.

Some students prefer to stay online.

“[E-mail] is easy and cost efficient because you don’t have to purchase stamps,” said Sean Smith, 18, a freshman business administration student from Gulfport, Miss.

Many college students frequently use Web-based e-mail accounts such as Yahoo and Hotmail, but those are not the only sites available.

Students can access a list of free e-mail pages by going to www.freecenter.com. This Web site provides a list of over 50 free e-mail accounts.

Another alternative of using a cell phone is buying phone cards.

On Web sites such as www.collegephonecards.com, students can purchase discounted phone cards and have access to the card number in less than five minutes of an approved order.

“Most phone cards are sensible when it comes to minute rates,” Smith said.

Even Web pages can serve as a substitute to cell phones. Web sites, such as www.freewebsites.com, allow students to create their own Web page. The site supplies students with everything needed and allows users to create unlimited e-mail addresses.

Although cell phones continue to be the No. 1 choice of communication for college students, these reasonably priced alternatives save students the hassle of dealing with high cell phone bills and persistent bill collectors.

Contact Latoya Marshall at ldmar82@aol.com.